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; LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 

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UNITED STATES OP AMERICA. 



THE ROMANCES OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS. 
JHlitstrateti liters lE&ttum. 
Vol. XL. 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 

Vol. II. 



V 



The First Consul receives News from England. 



£\)t Napoleon Momante& 



THE 



COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



BY 

ALEXANDRE DUMAS. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 

Vol. II. 



BOSTON: 




LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY. 
1894. 



V 



Copyright, 1894, 
By Little, Brown, and Company. 



GTfjtg fE&ttton is ILitnitrU to @ne SHjotisanU Copies, 
ilfo. 



University Press : 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME II. 



Chapter Page 

I. En Eamille 1 

II. The Diligence from Geneva 10 

III. Citizen Pouche's Report 24 

IV. The Son of the Miller of Leguerno . . 33 
"V. White and Blue 43 

"VI. Retaliation 50 

VII. The Diplomacy of Georges Cadoudal . . 71 

VIII. A Marriage Proposal 91 

IX. Sculpture and Painting 100 

X. The Ambassador 116 

XI. The two Signals 132 

XII. The Cave of Ceyzeriat ....... 144 

XIII. An Empty Bush 160 

XIV. The Hotel de la Poste . 169 

XV. The Mail-Coach for Chambery 187 

XVI. Lord Grenville's Reply 194 

XVII. A Change of Residence . 207 

XVIII. Looking for a Trail 220 

XIX. An Inspiration . 230 

XX. Reconnoitring ........ V. . 240 



ii CONTENTS. 

Chaptee Page 

XXI. How Morgan's Presentiments were real- 
ized ... 247 

XXII. Roland's Revenge 256 

XXIII. Cadoudal at the Tuileries ..... 263 

XXIV. The Reserve Army 270 

XXV. The Trial ,286 

XXVI. How Amelie kept her Word .... 301 

XXVII. The Confession .316 

XXVIII. Invulnerable 323 

XXIX. Conclusion 334 



M 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER I. 

EN FAMILLE. 

Let us leave our four hunters on the road to Lagny, where, 
thanks to the passports which they owed to the kindness 
of the employes of citizen Fouche, they exchanged their 
post-horses for animals of their own, and let us see why 
the First Consul had asked for Roland. 

As soon as Roland left Morgan, he hastened to obey 
the order of his general. He found the latter standing 
thoughtfully before the mantelpiece. At the sound of his 
entrance General Bonaparte lifted his head. 

"What did you say to each other 1 ?" he asked, trusting 
in Roland's habit of answering his thoughts. 

" Oh," said Roland, " we paid each other all sorts of 
compliments, and we parted the best friends in the 
world." 

" How did he appear to you 1 " 
" Like a perfectly well-bred man." 
" How old do you think he is 1 " 
" About my age ; no more." 

" Yes, I should think so. The voice is young. Ah, 
Roland ! have I deceived myself ? Is there to be a young 
royalist generation 1 " 

VOL. II. — 1 



2 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Oh, General," replied Roland, shrugging his shoulders, 
"it is only a remnant of the old one." 

" Roland, there ought to be another one, which would 
be devoted to my son, if ever I have a son." 

Roland made a gesture which signified he would not 
oppose it. Bonaparte understood the gesture perfectly. 

" It is not enough that you do not oppose it,'' said he, 
" you must contribute to it." 

A nervous shudder passed through Roland's body. " In 
what way, General ? " he asked. 

" By marrying." 

Roland burst out lau^liing. " Good ! With my aneu- 
rism % " he said. 

Bonaparte looked at him. "My dear Roland," said he, 
" your aneurism looks to me like a pretext for remaining 
unmarried." 

" Do you think so ? " 

" Yes ; and as I am a moral man, I want everybody to 
be married." 

" Then I am immoral, I suppose ! " said Roland. " Per- 
haps I cause scandal with my mistresses ! " 

"Augustus, " returned Bonaparte, "made laws against 
celibates. He deprived them of their rights as Roman 
citizens." 

" Augustus — " 

"Well?" 

" I will wait until you are Augustus. You are now only 
Cgesar." 

Bonaparte approached the young man. " There are 
names, my dear Roland," he said, placing his hand upon 
the shoulder of the other, " which I do not care to see 
extinguished. And the name of Montrevel is one of 
them." 

" Well, General, suppose that by caprice or fancy or 



EN FAMILLE. 



3 



obstinacy I refuse to do what you say, — is there not still 
my brother % " 

"What ! your brother 1 Have you then a brother V*' 

" Yes, indeed, I have a brother. Why should I not 
have a brother 1 " 

" How old is he 1 " 

" Eleven or twelve years." 

" Why did you never tell me about him 1 " 

" Because I thought the doings of a child of that age 
would not interest you particularly." 

"You are mistaken, Roland. I am interested in every- 
thing that concerns my friends. You must ask something 
of me for this brother." / 

"What, General?" 

" His admission into a college in Paris." 

" Oh, you have beggars enough about you without my 
swelling the number." 

" Understand, he must come to a Parisian school ; and 
when he is old enough I will put him into the military 
school, or some other school which I may found between 
now and then." 

" Upon my word, General," replied Roland, " at this 
very hour, as if I had guessed your good intentions with 
respect to him, he is on the road to Paris, or very nearly 
so." 

"How is that?" 

" I wrote three days ago to my mother to bring the 
child to Paris. T wanted to choose a school for him with- 
out saying anything to you about it ; and when he was 
old enough, I intended to speak to you of him, always 
supposing that my aneurism had not carried me off before 
that. But in that case — " 

" In that case ? " 

" In that case I should have left a letter addressed to 



4 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



you which would recommend to your care mother, son, 
and daughter. — the whole family." 

" What ! a daughter ? " 

" Yes, my sister." 

" Have you then a sister also ? " 

" Certainly." 

" How old is she ? " 

" Seventeen." 

"Pretty?" 

" Charming." 

" I will find a hushand for her." 
Roland began to laugh. 

" What is the matter 1 " asked the First Consul. 
" I am going to put a sign before the great door of the 
Luxembourg." 

" And what will you put on that sign '] " 
" ' Marriage Office.' " 

" Oh, yes ; but if you do not want to marry, that is no 
reason why your sister should remain single. I do not 
like old maids any better than I do old bachelors." 

" I do not say, General, that my sister intends to re- 
main an old maid. It is enough for one of the Montrevel 
family to incur your displeasure." 

u Well, then, what do you mean ? " 

" I mean that if you like, since the thing concerns her, 
we will consult her upon it." 

" Ah, ha ! Is there some provincial lover 1 ? " 

" I cannot say that there is not. I left poor Amelie 
fresh and smiling, and I found her pale and sad. I shall 
have an explanation with her ; and since you wish me to 
repeat it to you, I will do so." 

" Yes, on your return from la Vendee. That is right." 

" Ah, am I going to la Vendee 1 " 

" Is that like marriage 1 Do you dislike the idea 1 " 



EN FAMILLE. 



5 



" Not at all." 

" Well, then, you are going to la Vendee." 
"When?" 

" Oh, there is no hurry. You can start to-morrow 
morning." 

" Very well." 

" Sooner if you like." 

" Tell me what I am to do there." 

" Something of the greatest importance, Roland." 

" The devil ! I hope it is not a diplomatic mission 1 " 

"Yes, it is a diplomatic mission for which I want a 
man who is not a diplomat." 

" Then I will do beautifully for you. Only you must 
understand that the less of a diplomat I am, the more pre- 
cise instructions do I need." 

" I am going to give them to you. Do you see this 
map 1 " He showed the young man a large map of Pied- 
mont lying upon the floor, and lighted by a lamp hung 
from the ceiling. 

" Yes, I see it," replied Eoland, who was used to the 
First Consul's unexpected turns in conversation. " That 
is a map of Piedmont." 

" Yes, it is a map of Piedmont." 

" Then it is a question of Italy % " 

" It is always a question of Italy." 

" I thought it was about la Vendee." 

" Secondarily." 

" Oh, General ! you are not going to send me into la 
Vendee while you go to Italy yourself, are you?" 
« No." 

" Very well ; I warn you that in that case I should de- 
sert, and come to rejoin you." 

" I should permit you to do so ; but let us go back to 
Melas." 



6 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" I beg your pardon, General, that is the first time you 
have spoken of him." 

'•' Yes, but I have been thinking of him for a long 
time. Do you know where I am going to beat Melas V 

"Yes." 

" Where 1 " 

" Wherever you meet him." 

Bonaparte laughed. " You silly boy ! " he said with the 
most intimate familiarity. Then bending over the map 
he continued : " Come here." 

Eoland bent down near him. 

" Here/' said Bonaparte, " here is where I am going to 
meet him." 

" Xear Alexandria ? " 

"Two or three leagues from it. At Alexandria he has 
his hospitals, his artillery, and his reserves, and he will 
not go far away from them. I must strike a bold blow. 
I shall obtain peace only on this condition. I shall cross 
the Alps," — he pointed to the great St. Bernard, — "I 
shall fall upon Melas when he least expects me, and I shall 
rout him entirely." 

" Oh, I will answer for it." 

" But you understand, Eoland, that I cannot go away 
with my mind at ease if there is a disturbance in la 
Vendee." 

" Oh, that is what you mean ! Down with la Vendee ! 
And you are going to send me there, I suppose, to sup- 
press it." 

" This young man said some very serious things to me 
about la Vendee. These Vendeeans are brave soldiers, 
and they are led by a man of brains, — Georges Cadoudal. 
I offered him a regiment, but he would not accept it." 

"He showed very bad taste." 

"But there is one thing which he does not suspect." 



Napoleon and Roland. 



EN FAMILLE. 



7 



" Who 1 Cadoudal 1 " 

" Yes. It is that Abbe Bernier has made overtures to 
me." 

" Abbe BernierV 
" Yes." 

" Who is he ? " 

" He is the son of a peasant of Anjou, and is perhaps 
thirty-three or thirty-four years old ; he was cure of St.- 
Laud a Angers at the time of the insurrection, and he re- 
fused to take the oath, and went among the Vendeeans. 
Two or three times there has been peace in la Vendee. 
Once or twice it was thought to be conquered, but it was 
a mistake. There was peace with the Vendeeans, but the 
Abbe Bernier did not sign the peace. La Vendee was 
dead, but the Abbe Bernier was alive. One day la Vendee 
was ungrateful to him. He wanted to be named General 
Agent of all the Eoyalist armies of the interior ; Stofflet 
opposed the decision, and caused Count Colbert de Maule- 
vrier, his former master, to be nominated. At two o'clock 
in the morning the Council separated ; and the Abbe 
Bernier had disappeared. What he did on that night 
God alone knows ; but at four o'clock in the morning a 
republican detachment surrounded the house where Stofflet 
was sleeping, unarmed and defenceless, and at half-past 
four Stofflet was taken ; a week later he was executed at 
Angers. On the next day D'Autichamp took the chief 
command, and the same day, in order not to make the 
same mistake as his predecessor Stofflet, he named the 
Abbe Bernier General Agent. Do you follow me % " 

"Perfectly." 

" Well, the Abbe Bernier, General Agent of the belli- 
gerent authorities, and endowed with full powers from the 
Comte d'Artois, has made overtures to me." 

" To you, Bonaparte, the First Consul 1 Does he dare 1 



8 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Do you not think that is very bold on the part of Abbe 
Bernier 1 Do you accept his overtures ? " 

" Yes, Roland. If la Vendee will give me peace I will 
restore its churches and give back its priests." 

" And they will sing the ' Domine, salvum fac regem.' " 

''That would be better than singing nothing at all. 
God is all-powerful, and will decide. Does the mission 
suit you now, after I have explained it to you ] " 

"Perfectly." 

"Well, here is a letter for General Hedouville. He 
will treat with the Abbe Bernier as general-in-chief of the 
army of the West ; but you will be present at all the 
conferences. He will be my mouthpiece; but you will be 
my thought. Now go as soon as possible. The sooner 
you return, the sooner Melas will be beaten." 

u General, I only ask time to write to my mother." 

" Where will she leave the diligence 1 ?" 

" At the Hotel des Ambassadeurs." 

" When do you think she will get there ? " 

w It is now the night of the 21st of January. She will 
arrive on the evening of the 23d, or the morning of 
the 24th." 

" And she will be at the Hotel des Ambassadeurs 1 " 

"Yes, General." 

" I will see to everything." 

" What ! you will see to everything % " 

"Certainly ; your mother cannot stay at the hotel." 

" Where will she stay, then % " 

" With a friend." 

" She knows no one in Paris." 

"I beg your pardon, Monsieur Roland, she knows citi- 
zen Bonaparte the First Consul, and Josephine his wife." 

" You are not going to bring my mother to the Luxem- 
bourg, General? That would embarrass her too much." 



EN FAMILLE. 



9 



" No, I will take her to the Rue de la Victoire." 
" Oh, General ! " 

" Come, that is decided. Go jiovv, and return as soon 
as possible." 

Roland took the First Consul's hand to kiss it ; but 
Bonaparte drew him quickly towards him. "Kiss me, 
my dear Roland," he said, "and good luck to you." 

Two hours later Roland was in a post-chaise on the 
road to Orleans. The next day at nine o'clock in the 
morning he entered Nantes, after travelling thirty-three 
miles. 



10 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTEE II. 

THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 

At almost the same hour that Roland was entering Nantes, 
a heavily loaded diligence stopped at the inn of the Golden 
Cross in the principal street of Chatillon-sur-Seine. At 
that time diligences were composed of only two compart- 
ments, — the coupe, or front part, and the inside. The 
rotunda is a modern invention. 

Scarcely had the diligence stopped when the postilion 
leaped to the ground and opened the door. The travel- 
lers came out. These travellers amounted to seven in 
number : in the inside three men, two women, and a 
nursing child ; in the coupe a mother and her son. 

The three men in the inside were — one of them a 
doctor, from Troyes ; another a watchmaker, from Geneva ; 
and the third an architect, from Bourg. The two women 
were — one of them a chambermaid, who was going to 
meet her mistress in Paris ; and the other a nurse. The 
child was in the care of this latter person ; she was taking 
it to its parents. The mother and son in the coupe were 
— the mother, a woman about forty years old, still pre- 
serving traces of great beauty ; and the son, a child of 
eleven or twelve years. The third place in the coupe was 
occupied by the conductor. 

The breakfast was prepared according to custom in the 
great dining-room of the hotel. It was one of those break- 
fasts which the conductor, doubtless in agreement with the 
landlord, never allowed the travellers time enough to eat. 



THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 



11 



The woman and the nurse got down to go to the baker's 
and get a little warm bread, to which the nurse added 
for herself a sausage with garlic ; and then they got back 
again into the carriage, where they quietly took their 
breakfast, — thus saving the cost of the meal at the hotel, 
which was doubtless too much for their purses. The 
doctor, the watchmaker, the architect, the mother, and her 
son went into the inn, and after having quickly warmed 
themselves as they passed by the great kitchen fire, en- 
tered the dining-room and sat down at the table. The 
mother contented herself with a cup of coffee and a little 
fruit; the child, delighted at the opportunity of proving, 
at least by his appetite, that he was a man, bravely at- 
tacked the breakfast. The first moments were, as usual, 
given to satisfying the demands of hunger. The watch- 
maker from Geneva spoke first. 

" Upon my word, citizen," he said, — for in public 
places people still called each other citizen, — u I am not 
ashamed to confess that I was not at all sorry this morn- 
ing when I saw daylight." 

" Perhaps you cannot sleep in a carriage 1 " asked the 
doctor. 

" Oh, yes, sir," replied the other. " On the contrary, 
I usually sleep right through. But my uneasiness was 
too much for my fatigue." 

" Were you afraid of tipping over ? " asked the architect. 

" No, I am very lucky in that respect, — so much so 
that it seems to be enough for me to be in a carriage for 
it to be incapable of tipping over. No, it was not that 
at all." 

" What was it, then 1 " asked the doctor. 
" It was because they say at Geneva that the French 
roads are not safe." 

"That depends," said the architect. 



12 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



"Ah, that depends?" echoed the man from Geneva. 

" Yes," continued the architect. " For example, if we 
were carrying with us government money, we should be 
very sure of being stopped, or rather we should have been 
stopped already." 

"Do you think so 1 " said the man from Geneva. 

" Not a doubt of it. I cannot imagine how these Com- 
panions of Jehu are so well informed ; but they never 
miss one." 

The doctor nodded. 

" Ah, so you also are of the opinion of this gentleman 1 " 
said the man from Geneva to the doctor. 
" Entirely." 

" And if you knew that tbere was government money 
in the diligence, would you be madman enough to go upon 
it yourself?" 

" I confess," said the doctor, "that I should look at it 
twice." 

" And you, sir 1 " asked the watchmaker of the architect. 

"Oh," replied the other, "as I was called by very 
urgent business, I should have gone just the same." 

" I have a good mind," said the man from Geneva, " to 
have my valise and trunks taken off, and wait for to-mor- 
row's diligence, because I have about twenty thousand 
francs worth of watches in my boxes. We have been 
lucky until now, but one should not tempt God." 

"Did you not understand, sir," said the mother, join- 
ing in the conversation, " that we ran no risk of being 
attacked, — or at least this gentleman said so, — except 
we were carrying government money?" 

" Well, that is just the case," replied the watchmaker, 
looking uneasily about him. " We have some with us." 

The mother grew a little paler as she looked at her son. 
Before fearing for herself every mother fears for her child. 



THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 



13 



" What ! We are carrying some 1 " replied the doctor 
and the architect at the same time. " Are you very sure of 
what you are saying 1 " 

" Perfectly sure, sir." 

" Then you should have told us sooner, or else told us 
in a lower tone now," said the architect. 

"But," replied the doctor, "perhaps the gentleman is 
not quite sure of what he says." 

" Or perhaps he is joking," added the architect. 

" God forbid ! " 

"The people of Geneva like a good joke," continued 
the doctor. 

"Sir," said the man from Geneva, hurt that any one 
could have thought that he was joking, — "sir, with my 
own eyes I saw them put it in." 

"Whatl" 

"The money." 

" And was there much of it 1 " 

" I saw them put in a good number of bags." 

" But where does this money come from " 

" It comes from the treasury of the bears of Berne. 
Perhaps you know, sir, that the bears of Berne had an 
income of fifty or sixty thousand pounds." 

The doctor burst out laughing. 

" Gentlemen," said the watchmaker, " I give you my 
word of honor." 

" Carriage is ready, gentlemen," cried the conductor, 
opening the door, — " carriage is ready. "We are three 
quarters of an hour late." 

" Wait a moment, Conductor, only a moment," cried 
the watchmaker, — " we are holding a consultation." 

"About what V 

" Shut the door, Conductor, and come here." 
" Drink a glass of wine with us, Conductor." 



14 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



"With pleasure, gentlemen," said the conductor ; "a 
glass of wine is not to be refused." 

The conductor held out his glass, and the three trav- 
ellers touched theirs to it. Just as he was going to carry 
it to his mouth the doctor stopped his arm. 

" Conductor," he said, " is it really true 1 " 

"What?" 

"What this gentleman has just told us." And he 
motioned towards the man from Geneva. 
"M. Feraudl" 

" I did not know what the gentleman's name was." 

" Yes, sir, that is my name, at your service," said the 
man from Geneva, bowing. " Teraud & Co., watch- 
makers, Rue du Rem part, No. 6, Geneva." 

''Gentlemen," said the conductor, "the carriage is 
ready." 

"But you have not answered us." 

" What the devil do you want me to say 1 You have 
not asked me anything ? " 

" Yes, indeed ; we asked you if it was true that we 
were carrying in our diligence a considerable sum belong- 
ing to the Trench Government." 

" Tattler ! " said the conductor to the watchmaker, 
"you told them that?" 

" Well, my dear sir — " 

"Come, gentlemen, the carriage is ready." 

" But before we go, we want to know — " 

" What, if I have government money 1 Well, I have. 
Now, if we are stopped, don't breathe a word of it, and 
we shall get along all right." 

" Are you sure ? " 

" Let me arrange matters with the gentlemen." 
"What will you do if they stop us I" asked the doctor 
of the architect. 



THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 



15 



" Oh, I shall follow the conductor's advice." 

" That is what you had better do," replied the latter. 

" Then I shall keep quiet/' said the architect. 

" And I also," said the watchmaker. 

" Come, gentlemen, carriage is ready ; hurry up ! " 

The child had listened to this conversation with frown- 
ing brows and clinched teeth. "Well," he said to his 
mother, " I know what I shall do if we are stopped." 

" And what will you do 1 " asked she. 

" You will see." 

" What does the boy sayl " asked the watchmaker. 

"I say that you are all cowards," replied the child, 
without hesitating. 

" Why, Edward ! " said his mother, " what is that % " 

" I wish they would stop the diligence, for my part," 
said the child, with flashing eyes. 

" Come, come, gentlemen, in the name of Heaven get 
into the carriage ! " cried the conductor for the last time. 

" Conductor," said the doctor, " I suppose you have 
no weapons 1 " 

" Yes, indeed ; I have pistols." 

"Unfortunate!" 

The conductor bent down and said in a low tone, 
" Don't worry, doctor, they are only loaded with powder." 

" Very well." And the doctor shut the door of the in- 
side compartment. 

" Come, postilion, go on." And while the postilion 
cracked his whip aud the heavy vehicle rolled away, the 
conductor shut the door of the coupe. 

" Are you not going to get up with us, Conductor 1 " 
asked the mother. 

" Thanks, Madame de Montrevel," replied the con- 
ductor, "I have a little business on the roof." Then as 
he passed along he said : " Take care that Master Edward 



16 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



does not touch the pistols which are in the back, for he 
might wound himself." 

" There ! " said the boy, " as if one did not know 
what pistols were ! I have some that are much more 
beautiful than yours, that my friend Sir John sent for 
from England. Have I not, Mother 1 " 

"No matter," said Mme. de Montrevel. "I beg of 
you, Edward, to touch nothing." 

" Oh, don't worry, dear mamma." But he said to him- 
self : " Just the same, if the companions of Jehu stop us, 
I know what I shall do." 

The diligence had resumed its heavy journey, and was 
rolling towards Paris. It was one of those beautiful 
winter days which show men who believe Nature to be 
dead that Nature does not die; she only sleeps. The 
man who lives seventy or eighty years has nights of ten 
or twelve hours, and complains that their length shortens 
the brevity of his days. Nature, which has an infinite 
existence, and trees which live one thousand years, sleeps 
for five months, which are our winters, but which are their 
nights. Poets sing the immortality of Nature, saying that 
she dies each autumn and comes to life again each spring. 
Poets are mistaken ; Nature does not die each autumn, 
— she falls asleep; Nature does not come to life again each 
spring, — she awakes. When our Earth really dies, it will 
be dead indeed ; and then it will roll into space or fall into 
chaos, motionless, mute, silent, without trees, without 
flowers, without verdure, and without poets. 

Now, on this beautiful day, the 23d of February, 1800, 
sleeping Nature seemed to dream of spring. A brilliant, 
almost joyous sun made the grass on the double ditch 
which bordered the road sparkle with those mock pearls 
of hoar-frost which fall through the fingers of children 
and rejoice the heart of the farmer when they tremble on 



THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 



17 



the points of his freshly springing wheat. The passen- 
gers opened the windows of the diligence to give entrance 
to this precocious smile of spring, and welcomed the sun's 
warm rays. 

Suddenly, after having left Chatillon an hour's ride be- 
hind them, just as they came to a bend in the river, the 
carriage stopped without any apparent reason. Four 
horsemen were quietly advancing, and one of them, who 
was two or three steps in front of the others, had made a 
signal for the postilion to stop. The postilion had obeyed. 

" Oh, Mamma ! " said little Edward, standing up in spite 
of Mme. de Montrevel's entreaties, and looking through 
the opening of the lower window, — " oh, Mamma ! what 
beautiful horses ! But why have the horsemen got on 
masks ? We are not at the carnival." 

Mme. de Montrevel was lost in dreamy thought. A 
woman always dreams. When she is young she dreams 
of the future ; when she is old she dreams of the past. 
She roused herself from her revery, put her head out of 
the diligence also, and uttered a cry. 

Edward turned around quickly. " What is the matter 1 " 
he asked. 

Mme. de Montrevel, growing pale, took him in her 
arms without replying. Cries of terror were heard in the 
interior of the diligence. 

" But what is it 1 " asked Edward, struggling to rid him- 
self of his mother's arms. 

" It is only, my little friend," said one of the masked 
men in a gentle voice, as he put his head into the coupe, 
" that we have a little business with the conductor which 
does not at all concern the travellers. Tell your mother, 
therefore, to accept our respectful homage, and to pay no 
more attention to us than if we were not here." Then 
going on to the other compartment he said : " Gentlemen, 

VOL. II. — 2 



18 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



your servant. Fear nothing for your purses or your jew- 
els, and assure the nurse that we have not come to do her 
any harm." Then he said to the conductor : " Come 
there, Jerome, we have one hundred thousand francs under 
the roof and in the boxes, have we not 1 ?" 
" Gentlemen, I assure you — " 

"It is government money ; it belongs to the treasury of 
the bears of Berne. Seventy thousand francs are in gold, 
and the rest in silver ; the silver is on the carriage, and 
the gold in the box of the coupe. Is that a fact, and are 
we well informed 1 " 

At the words "in the box of the coupe" Mme. de 
Montrevel uttered a cry of terror. She was about to be 
brought into immediate contact with these men who, in 
spite of their politeness, inspired her with profound 
terror. 

"But what is the matter with you? "What is the 
matter ? " asked the child, impatiently. 
"Be still, Edward, be still!" 
" Why shall I be still?" 
" Do you not understand 1 " 
" No." 

"The diligence has been stopped." 
" Why ? Tell me why ! Oh, Mamma ! I understand 
now." 

"No, no!" said Mme. de Montrevel, "you do not 
understand." 

" These gentlemen are thieves." 
" Beware how you say that ! " 

"What, are they not thieves 1 They are taking the 
conductor's silver." 

In fact, one of them was loading upon his horse's saddle 
the bags of silver which the conductor was throwing to 
him from the roof of the carriage. 



THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 



19 



" iSTo," said Mine, de Montrevel, " these are not thieves." 
Then lowering her voice, she said : " They are the com- 
panions of Jehu." 

" Oh," said the child, " then they are the ones who assas- 
sinated my friend Sir John." And the child grew pale in his 
turn, while his breath came fast between his shut teeth. 

Just then one of the masked men opened the door of 
the coupe, and with the most exquisite politeness said : — 

" Madame, to our great regret we are forced to disturb 
you ; but we, or rather the conductor, has a little business 
with the box of his coupe. Be good enough, therefore, to 
step down upon the ground for a moment. Jerome will 
do the thing as quickly as possible." Then with an ac- 
cent of gayety which was never completely absent from 
his laughing voice he said, " Will you not, Jerome % " 

Jerome, from the top of the diligence, confirmed the 
words of the masked man. 

By an instinctive movement, in order to put herself 
between her son and danger, if danger there was, Mme. 
de Montrevel, while she obeyed the invitation, made 
Edward go behind her. This moment was enough to 
enable the child to seize the conductor's pistols. The 
young man with the laughing voice helped Mme. de Mon- 
trevel to descend, made a sign for one of his companions 
to offer her his arm, and turned towards the carriage. But 
just at that moment a double report was heard. Edward 
had just fired both pistols at the companions of Jehu, 
who disappeared in a cloud of smoke. 

Mme. de Montrevel uttered a cry of alarm, and fainted 
away. Several cries expressive of different sentiments 
answered to that of the mother. In the inside of the 
diligence there was a cry of anguish. They had agreed 
to oppose no resistance, and here was somebody resisting ! 

With the three other young men it was a cry of sur- 



20 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



prise. It was the first time that such a thing had hap- 
pened. They sprang towards their comrade, whom they 
believed to be killed. They found him sitting up safe 
and sound, and laughing heartily, while the conductor, 
with clasped hands, cried, — 

" Monsieur, I assure you that there were no bullets 
there ! Monsieur, I protest that they were loaded with 
powder only ! " 

" Yes," said the young man, "I know they were loaded 
with powder only : but the good intention was there, was 
it not, Edward ? " Then turning towards his companions 
he said : " You must confess, gentlemen, that he is a 
charming child, — a true son of his father, and brother of 
his brother. Bravo ! Edward, you will be a man some 
day." And taking the child in his arms, he kissed him 
in spite of himself on both cheeks. 

Edward fought like a little demon, no doubt finding it 
humiliating to be kissed by a man whom he had just at- 
tempted to shoot. 

In the mean time one of the three other companions had 
carried Edward's mother a few steps away from the dili- 
gence and laid her upon a cloak on the border of the 
ditch. The one who had just kissed Edward with so 
much affection and persistence looked around him for a 
moment, and perceiving her said : — 

"But in the mean time Mine, de Montrevel has not 
come to herself. We cannot leave a lady in this condition, 
gentlemen. Conductor, take care of Master Edward." 
He put the child down, and addressing one of his compan- 
ions said: "Here, you man of precautions, have you not 
about you some flask of salts or some bottle of sweet- 
scented water 1 " 

"Yes," replied the other. And he drew from his 
pocket a flask of smelling-salts. 



THE DILIGENCE FROM GENEVA. 



21 



u There now," said the young man who appeared to be 
the chief of the band, u you may finish with Jerome. I 
am going to try to help Mme. de Montrevel." 

It was indeed time. Mme. de Montrevel's fainting-fit 
was gradually becoming an attack of hysteria. Sharp 
movements agitated her body, and dull cries escaped her. 
The young man bent over her and made her breathe the 
salts. 

Mme. de Montrevel opened her startled eyes, and while 
crying, " Edward ! Edward ! " with an involuntary ges- 
ture she struck off the mask of the one who was endeav- 
oring to help her. The young man's face was uncovered. 
It was Morgan. 

Mme. de Montrevel remained stupefied at the sight of 
the beautiful blue eyes, the high forehead, the graceful 
lips, and the white teeth half parted with a smile. She 
guessed at once that she ran no danger at the hands of 
such a man, and that no harm could have happened to 
Edward. Then, treating Morgan not as a bandit who 
had been the cause of her fainting-fit, but as a man of the 
world who had brought help to her, she said : — 

" Oh, sir ! how good you are ! " And in these words 
and in the tone in which they were pronounced, there 
was a world of gratitude, not only for herself but for 
her son. 

With a strange coquetry which was a part of his chiv- 
alric character, Morgan, instead of taking his mask up 
quickly and putting it so rapidly over his face that Mme. 
de Montrevel should keep only a confused remembrance 
of it, replied by a complimentary speech. He allowed his 
face time enough to produce its effect, and not until after 
he had put the flask of D'Assas into Mme. de Montrevel's 
hands, did he tie the cords of his mask. 

Mme. de Montrevel noticed the young man's del- 



22 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



icacy. "Oh, sir/' she said, "do not be uneasy. In 
whatever place or -whatever situation I find you again, 
you are unknown to me." 

" Then, Madame," said Morgan, " it is for me to thank 
you, and to tell you in my turn that you are good." 

"Come, gentlemen, carriage is ready," said the con- 
ductor, with his habitual tone, as if nothing extraordinary 
had happened. 

" Have you entirely recovered, Madame ? Do you not 
need a few minutes longer ? " said Morgan ; " the diligence 
can wait." 

" No, gentlemen, it is useless. I thank you, and I am 
perfectly well." 

Morgan offered his arm to Mme. de Montrevel, who 
leaned upon it while crossing the road and getting into the 
diligence. The conductor had already put Edward in. 

When Mme. de Montrevel had taken her place, Mor- 
gan, who had already made his peace with the mother, 
tried to do as much with the son. " Let us bear no 
grudge, my young hero," he said, holding out his hand. 

But the child drew back. " I do not give my hand to 
a highway robber," he said. 

Mme. de Montrevel started in affright. 

" You have a charming boy, Madame," said Morgan, 
" but be has his prejudices." And bowing with the great- 
est courtesy, he added as he shut the door, u Bon voyage, 
Madame." 

" Go on," cried the conductor. The carriage was rolling 
away. 

"Oh, I beg your pardon, sir," cried Mme. de Mon- 
trevel, " here is your flask." 

" Keep it, Madame," said Morgan, " although I hope 
you are sufficiently recovered to have no further need 
of it/" 



THE DILIGENCE FEOM GENEVA. 



23 



But the child, drawing it from his mother's hands, ex- 
claimed : " Mamma does not receive gifts from a thief ! " 
And he threw the flask out of the door. 

"Ah," murmured Morgan, with the first sigh which his 
companions had ever heard him utter, " I think I did 
well not to ask my dear Amelie in marriage." Then he 
said to his comrades : " Well, gentlemen, is it done % " 

" Yes," they replied with a single voice. 

" Then to horse and away ! You must not forget that 
we are to be at the Opera this evening at nine o'clock." 

And leaping into the saddle he was the first to cross 
the ditch, gain the border of the river, and without hesi- 
tation plunge into the ford indicated upon the map of 
Cassani by the pretended courier. 

When they reached the other bank, and while the young 
men were putting themselves in order, D'Assas asked : 
" Tell me ; did your mask not fall off? " 

u Yes ; but Mme. de Montrevel was the only one to 
see my face." 

" Hum," said D'Assas, "it would have been better if no 
one had seen it." 

And all four, putting their horses to a gallop, disap- 
peared across the fields towards Chaource. 



24 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER III. 

CITIZEN FOUCHE'S REPORT. 

When Mrae. de Montrevel arrived at the Hotel des 
Ambassadeurs on the next day at about eleven o'clock in 
the morning, she was astonished to find a stranger await- 
ing her instead of Roland. The stranger approached her. 

"You are General de Montrevel's widow, Madame?" 
he asked. 

"Yes, sir," replied Mme. de Montrevel, astonished. 

" And you are looking for your son 1 " 

" Yes, and I do not understand after the letter that he 
wrote me — " 

" Man proposes, but the First Consul disposes," replied 
the stranger, laughing. " The First Consul has disposed 
of your son for a few days, and has sent me to receive 
you in his place." 

Mme. de Montrevel bowed. " And I have the honor 
of speaking — " she asked. 

" To citizen Fauvelet de Bourrienne, his first secretary," 
replied the stranger. 

"You will thank the First Consul for me," replied 
Mme. de Montrevel, "and I hope you will be good 
enough to express to him my deep regret at not being able 
to thank him myself." 

" But nothing will be easier, Madame." 

"How so?" 

" The First Consul has ordered me to bring you to the 
Luxembourg." 



CITIZEN FOUCH#S EEPOKT. 



25 



"Me?" 

" You and your son." 

" Oh, I am going to see General Bonaparte ! I am 
going to see General Bonaparte ! " cried the child. " What 
happiness ! " And he clapped his hands and leaped for joy. 

"Well, well, Edward," said Mme. de Montrevel. 
Then turning towards Bourrienne, she said : " You must 
excuse him, sir; he is a little savage from the Jura 
Mountains." 

Bourrienne held out his hand to the boy. " I am your 
brother's friend," he said ; " will you kiss mel" 

"Oh, willingly, sir," replied Edward. u You are not 
a thief." 

"Well, no, I hope not," replied the secretary, laughing. 
" Excuse him once more, sir, but we were stopped upon 
the road." 

" What ! stopped 1 " 
-Yes." 

" By thieves 3 " 
" Not exactly." 

" Sir," asked Edward, "are not those thieves who take 
money from other people 1 " 

" Usually, my dear boy, they are called such." 

" There ! you see, Mamma ! " 

"Edward, be quiet, I beg of you." 

Bourrienne glanced at Mme. de Montrevel, and clearly 
saw from the expression of her face that the subject was 
disagreeable to her, and therefore did not continue it. 

"Madame," he said, "may I repeat that I received an 
order to take you to the Luxembourg, and that Mme. 
Bonaparte is expecting you 1 " 

" Sir, give me only time to change my dress, and to 
dress Edward." 

" And how long will this take, Madame? " 



26 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Is it too much to ask for a half-hour 1 " 

" Oh, no ; if a half-hour is enough, I find that a very 
reasonable demand." 

" That will be quite sufficient, sir." 

"Very well, Madame," said the secretary, bowing, "I 
am going to take a walk, and in half an hour I shall come 
to put myself under your orders." 

" I thank you, sir." 

" Do not blame me if I am punctual." 

u I shall not keep you waiting." 

Bourrienne went. Mme. de Montrevel dressed first 
Edward and then herself; and when Bourrienne reap- 
peared she had been ready for five minutes. 

" Take care, Madame," said Bourrienne, laughing, "lest 
I tell the First Consul of your punctuality ! " 

" And what should I have to fear in that case 1 " 

" Lest he should retain you near him to give lessons in 
punctuality to Mme. Bonaparte." 

" Oh," said Mme. de Montrevel, " a great many 
things must be excused in Creoles." 

"But you are also a Creole, Madame, I believe 1 ?" 

"Mme. Bonaparte," replied Mme. de Montrevel, "sees 
her husband every day, while I am about to see him for 
the first time." 

"Come, Mother, let us go," said Edward. 

The secretary drew back to allow Mme. de Montrevel 
to pass. A quarter of an hour later they were at the 
Luxembourg. 

Bonaparte occupied in the little Luxembourg an apart- 
ment on the right of the ground floor, and Josephine had 
her rooms and boudoir on the first story. A passage led 
from the First Consul's room to her own. 

Josephine had been notified of the expected arrival, for 
when she perceived Mme. de Montrevel she received 



CITIZEN FOUCHE^S BEPORT. 



27 



her with open arms, like a friend. Mme. de Montrevel 
stopped respectfully at the door. 

" Oh, come in, come ! " said Josephine ; " I feel as 
though I had known you ever since I knew your excellent 
son Roland. Do you know the thing that makes me feel 
safest when Bonaparte leaves me 1 It is that Roland fol- 
lows him. And when I know that Roland is near him I 
think that no evil can happen to him. Well, will you not 
kiss me 1 " 

Mme. de Montrevel was confused at so much kindness. 

"We come from the same country, do we not?" con- 
tinued Josephine. " Oh, I remember perfectly M. de la 
Clemen ciere, who had such a beautiful garden and such 
magnificent fruit. And I remember having seen there a 
beautiful young girl who seemed to be the queen of it. 
You were married when you were very young, were you 
not, Madame ? " 

" At fourteen years." 

" It must have been so, for you to have a son as old as 
Roland. But come and sit down." She set the exam- 
ple, making a sign for Mme. de Montrevel to sit down 
beside her. " And this charming boy," she continued, 
looking at Edward, "is he also your son V She sighed. 
" God has been very lavish with you, Madame," she said. 
"And since he does everything that you desire, you must 
pray to him to send me one, also." 

Josephine put her lips enviously to Edward's forehead. 
" My husband will be very glad to see you, Madame, — 
he loves your son so much ; and you would not have 
been brought to me in the first place if he had not been 
occupied with the minister of police. And by the way," 
she added laughing, "you have come at an inopportune 
moment. He is furious." 

" Oh," exclaimed Mme. de Montrevel, almost frightened, 
tl if that is the case, I should like to wait ! " 



28 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Not at all. On the contrary, the sight of you will 
calm him. I do not know what is the matter with him. 
It seems that they have stopped the diligences, as if they 
were in the Black Forest, in broad daylight on the open 
road. Fouche will have to look out for himself if the 
thing continues." 

Mme. de Montrevel was about to reply, but just then 
the door opened and a messenger appeared. " The First 
Consul expects Mme. de Montrevel/' he said. 

"Come," said Josephine, "Bonaparte's time is so pre- 
cious that he is almost as impatient as Louis XIV., who 
had nothing to do. He does not like to be kept waiting." 

Mme. de Montrevel rose quickly and made a motion to 
take her son with her. 

w No," said Josephine, " leave this beautiful child with 
me. We are going to keep you to dinner. Bonaparte 
will see him at six o'clock. Besides, if he wants to see 
him now he will ask for him. For the moment I am his 
second mother. Let us see, what can we do to amuse 
you] " 

" The First Consul must have some fine weapons, Ma- 
dame," said the child. 

" Yes, very fine. Well, they shall show you the First 
Consul's weapons." 

Josephine went out through one door, leading the boy, 
and Mme. de Montrevel through the other after the 
messenger. 

On the way the countess met a blond man with a pale 
face and dull eye, who looked at her with a suspicion 
which seemed to be habitual to him. She moved quickly 
aside to allow him to pass. 

The messenger saw the movement. " That is the pre- 
fect of police," he said to her in a low tone. 

Mme. de Montrevel glanced after him curiously. Fouche 
was at that time already fatally celebrated. 



CITIZEN TOUCHES KEPORT. 



29 



Just then the door of Bonaparte's private room opened, 
and putting out his head he perceived Mine, de Montrevel. 
u Madame de Montrevel ! " he said, u come ! come ! " 

She hastened her steps and entered the private room. 

"Come/' said Bonaparte, shutting the door after her; 
" I made you wait, which was very much against my will. 
I had business with . Fouche. You know how pleased I 
am with Roland, and that I am going to make a general 
of him at the first opportunity. At what time did you 
arrive ? " 

"Just now, General." 

"Where did you come from? Eoland told me, but I 
have forgotten." 
" From Bourg." 
" By what road 1 " 
" By the Champagne road." 

"By the Champagne road! Then you were at Cha- 
tillon at what time 1 " 

" Yesterday morning at nine o'clock." 

" In that case you must have heard them speaking of 
the stopping of a diligence." 

" General — " 

" Yes, the diligence was stopped at ten o'clock in the 
morning between Chatillon and Bar-sur-Seine." 
" General, it was ours." 
" What, yours ] " 
" Yes." 

" You were in the diligence that was stopped 1 " 
" I was." 

" Ah, then you can give me the exact details. Excuse 
me ; you understand my desire to get information, do you 
not ] In a civilized country which has General Bonaparte 
fur its magistrate, they cannot with impunity stop a dili- 
gence on the road in open day, unless — " 



so 



THE COMPANIONS GF JEEU. 



" General, I can tell you nothing, except that those 
who stopped the diligence were on horseback and 
masked." 

" How many were there 1 n 

"Four." 

" How many men were in the diligence ? " 
" Four, including the conductor." 
" And did they not defend themselves'? " 
"No, General." 

" The police report has it, however, that two pistol 
shots were heard." 

" Yes, General ; but these two pistol shots — " 
"Well?" 

" Were made by my son." 

" Your son ? But he was in la Vendee." 

" Roland was, yes. But Edward was with me." 

" Edward ! who is Edward ?" 

"Roland's brother." 

" He spoke of him to me ; but he is nothing but a 
child." 

" He is not twelve years old, General." 
" And he fired two pistols ? " 
"Yes, General." 

"Why have you not brought him to me?" 
" He is with me." 
"Where is he?" 

" I left him with Mine. Bonaparte." 

Bonaparte rang, and a messenger appeared. u Tell 
Josephine to come here with the boy." Then walking 
about the room he murmured : " Four men, and the child 
set them an example of courage ! And not one of the 
bandits was wounded 1 " 

" There were no balls in the pistols." 

" What ! there were no balls ? " 



CITIZEN FOUCHE^S .REPORT. 



31 



" No ; they belonged to the conductor, and he had 
taken the precaution to load them only with powder." 

" Very well ; we will know his name." 

Just then the door opened and Mme. Bonaparte ap- 
peared, holding the boy by the hand. 

" Come here," said Bonaparte. 

The child Edward approached unhesitatingly, and gave 
the military salute. 

" Was it you who fired at the robbers 1 " 

"You see, Mother, that they were robbers," interrupted 
the child. 

" Certainly they were robbers. I should like to see 
any one tell me the contrary. And so it was you who 
shot at them when the men were afraid ] " 

" Yes, it was I, General ; but unluckily that coward of 
a conductor had loaded the pistols with nothing but pow- 
der. If it had not been for that I should have killed 
their chief." 

"You were not afraid, then % " 

" 1 1 No," said the child, " I am never afraid." 

"You should call yourself Cornelia, Madame," said 
Bonaparte, turning towards Mme. de Montrevel, who was 
leaning upon Josephine's arm. Then turning to the child 
and kissing him, he said : " We must take care of you. 
What do you want to be 1 " 

"A soldier, at first." 

" What do you mean by ' at first ' 1 " 

" Later I want to be a colonel like my brother, and a 
general like my father." 

" It will not be my fault if you are not," said the First 
Consul. 

" Nor mine," replied the child. 

" Edward ! " said Mme. de Montrevel, timidly. 

" Do not scold him for having replied well." He took 



32 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the child, lifted him up to his face, and kissed him. " You 
will dine with us," he said, " and this evening Bourrienne, 
who went for you at the hotel, will install you in the Hue 
de la Victoire. You will stay there until Roland's return, 
when he will find a lodging for you to his taste. Edward 
will enter the Prytaneum, and I will find a husband for 
your daughter." 
" General ! " 

" I told Eoland T would." Then turning towards Jose- 
phine he said : " Take Mine, de Montrevel to drive. Do 
not allow her to weary herself. Madame de Montrevel, if 
your friend [Bonaparte emphasized these last words] wants 
to enter a milliner's shop, do not let her. She does not 
need any new bonnets ; she has had thirty-eight in the 
last month." 

And giving a playful slap on the cheek to Edward, the 
First Consul dismissed the two ladies with a gesture. 



THE SON OF THE MILLER OF LEGUERNO. 33 



CHAPTEE IV. 

THE SON OF THE MILLER OF LEGUERNO. 

As we have said, at the very moment when Morgan and 
his three companions were stopping the Geneva diligence 
between Bar-sur-Seine and Chatillon, Roland was enter- 
ing Nantes. If we would know the result of his mission, 
we must not follow him step by step, among the fogs in 
which the Abbe Bernier enveloped his ambitious desires, 
but rejoin him at the town of Muzillac, between Ambon 
and the Guernic, about two leagues beyond the little gulf 
into which the Vilaine empties. 

There we are in the heart of Morbihan, the place where 
Chouanry had its birth ; it was near Laval, on the home- 
stead of the Poiriers, that were born, of Pierre Cottereau 
and Jeanne Moyne, the four Chouan brothers. One of 
their ancestors, a misanthropic woodcutter, held himself 
aloof from the other peasants, as the chat-huant, or 
screech-owl, shuns other birds ; hence, by corruption, 
came the name Chouan. The name grew to be that of a 
party ; on the right bank of the Loire the name Chouan 
signified a Breton, while on the left bank the Vendeeans 
were called brigands. 

It is not for us to relate the death and destruction of 
this heroic family, to follow to the scaffold the two sisters 
and a brother, or to gaze upon Jean and Rene, as they lay 
wounded or dead upon the battlefield, martyrs to their 
faith. Since the executions of Perrine, Rene, and Pierre, 
and the death of Jean, many years have passed, and the 

VOL. II. — 3 



34 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



suffering of the sisters and the exploits of the brothers 
have become almost legendary. It is with their succes- 
sors that we have to do. 

These people are certainly faithful to traditions. As we 
saw them fighting beside la Rouerie, Bois-Hardy, and 
Bernard de Villeneuve, so they fought beside Bourmont, 
Frotte, and Georges Cadoudal, — always with the same 
courage and the same devotion; always as Christian 
soldiers and exalted royalists ; always the same in ap- 
pearance, rude and savage ; always armed with a gun, or 
with the simple stick called in the country a ferte ; always 
with the same costume, — the brown woollen cap or the 
broad-brimmed hat, scarcely covering the long, straight 
hair falling in disorder over their shoulders. They are 
still the old Aulerci Cenomani, as in the time of Csesar, 
promisso capillo ; they are still the Bretons of whom Mar- 
tial says, — 

" Tarn laxa est . . . 
Quam veteres braccae Britonis pauperis." 

To protect themselves from rain and cold they wear a 
cloak of goatskin, trimmed with long hair; and for a 
badge the Bretons wear on the chest a scapulary and 
beads, and the Vendeeans wear over the heart a heart of 
Jesus, — the distinguishing mark of a brotherhood which 
draws nearer each day to a common prayer. 

Such are the men who, from the moment we cross the 
limit which separates the Loire-Inferieure from the Mor- 
bihan, are scattered about from Roche-Bernard to Yannes, 
and from Quertemberg to Billiers, including, consequently, 
the town of Muzillac. But it needs the eye of an eagle 
looking down from above, or that of an owl which can 
see in the dark, to distinguish them as they lie concealed 
in the heather. 



THE SON OF THE MILLER OF LEGUERNO. 35 



Let us pass through the line of these invisible sentinels, 
and after having forded two tributary streams of the name- 
less river which empties into the sea near Billiers, between 
Arzal and Damgan, boldly enter the village of Muzillac. 

All is dark and quiet ; a solitary light shines through 
the cracks in the shutters of a house, or rather cottage, 
which in every other respect is like the rest. It is the 
fourth on the right as we enter. Let us look through the 
cracks in the shutters. 

We see a man dressed in the costume of the well-to-do 
peasants of the Morbihan ; but a gold cord, as thick as a 
finger, borders the collar and button-holes of his coat, 
and the edges of his hat. The remainder of his costume 
consists of leather breeches and top-boots. His sword is 
thrown upon a chair. A pair of pistols are within reach 
of his hand. In the chimney-place the barrels of two or 
three rifles reflect the blazing fire. He is seated before a 
table j a lamp shines upon some papers which he is read- 
ing attentively, and at the same time lights up his face. 
It is that of a man of thirty years. If it were not dark- 
ened by the cares of a partisan war, we can easily see that 
its expression would be frank and joyous ; it is framed 
by blond hair, and animated by beautiful blue eyes ; the 
head has the formation peculiar to Bretons, which, if 
phrenologists may be believed, is caused by the exag- 
gerated development of the organs of obstinacy. 

The man has two names. His familiar name, that by 
which he is called by the soldiers, is " Bound-head." His 
true name, that which he received from worthy and brave 
parents, is Georges Cadudal, — or rather Cadoudal, tra- 
dition having changed the orthography of the historic 
name. 

Georges was the son of a husbandman of the parish of 
Kerleano, in Brech. The story goes that the husbandman 



36 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



was also a miller. The young man had just received a 
good and solid education at the college of Vannes, which 
is only a few leagues distant from Brech, when the first ap- 
peals from the royalist insurrection came from la Vendee. 
Cadoudal heard them, gathered together a few of his com- 
panions, crossed the Loire at their head, and offered his 
services to Stofnet ; but Stofflet preferred to see him at 
work before attaching him to himself, which was what 
Georges had asked. It was not difficult to find occasions 
for fighting in the Vendeean army. On the next day 
there was a fight, at which Georges got to work to such 
purpose that when M. de Maulevrier's former game- 
keeper saw him charging the Blues, he could not help 
saying aloud to Bonchamp, who was near him, — 

" If that great round-head does not get carried of! by a 
cannon-ball, it will rise high one of these days." 

The nickname clung to Cadoudal. It is thus that, five 
centuries before, the ancestors of Malestroit, Penhoet, 
Beaumanoir, and De Bochefort designated the grand con- 
stable for whom the women of le Bretagne spun a ransom. 

" There is the great round-head," they said ; " now we 
will have a good fight with the English." Unhappily the 
present fight was not against the English, but against 
Frenchmen like themselves. 

Georges remained in la Vendee until Savenay was put 
to rout. The whole Vendeean army remained upon the 
field of battle, or vanished like smoke. During the last 
three years he had shown wonderful courage, skill, and 
strength ; he recrossed the Loire and returned to the Mor- 
bihan with only one out of all that had followed him. 
This man became his aide-de-camp, or rather his com- 
panion in war ; he never left him ; and in exchange for 
the severe campaign which they had endured together, he 
took the name of Tiffauges instead of that of Lemercier. 



THE SON OF THE MILLER OF LEGUERNO. 37 

It was he who at the Ball of Victims was charged with a 
mission for Morgan. 

When he returned to his native land, Cadoudal fomented 
insurrections on his own account ; bullets spared the great 
Round-head ; and in fulfilment of Stofflet's prophecy the 
great Round-head, succeeding La Rochejacquelein, Elbee, 
Bonchamp, Lescure, and Stofflet himself, became their 
rival in glory and their superior in power ; for he had 
come to a point which would test his strength. He was 
to fight almost alone against the government of Bon- 
aparte, who had been First Consul for three months. The 
two chiefs who also remained faithful to the Bourbon 
dynasty were Frotte and Bourmont. 

At the time of which we are speaking, the 26th of 
January, 1800, Cadoudal commanded three or four thou- 
sand men, with whom he was preparing to besiege General 
Hatry in Valines. While he was awaiting the First Con- 
sul's reply to the letter of Louis XVIII. he had suspended 
hostilities; but Tiffauges had arrived two days before, 
bringing it. It was already on the way to England, from 
whence it would be sent to Mittau ; and since the First 
Consul did not desire peace on the terms dictated by 
Louis XVIIL, Cadoudal, general-in-chief of his Majesty's • 
armies in the West, would continue the war against Bon- 
aparte, even though he had no help except that of his 
friend Tiffauges, who was at the present moment at Pou- 
ance in conference with Chatillon, D'Autichamp, the Abbe 
Bernier, and General Hedouville. 

Just now Cadoudal was lost in reflection, this last sur- 
vivor of the great heroes of the civil war ; and the news 
which he had just heard gave him, in truth, food for re- 
flection. General Brnne, the conqueror of Alkmaar and 
Castricum, and the savior of Holland, had just been 
named commander-in-chief of the Republican armies in 



38 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the West, and within the last three days had arrived at 
Nantes ; at any cost he was to crush Cadoudal and his 
Chouans; and at any cost the Chouans and Cadoudal 
would have to show the new commander-in-chief that 
they did not fear him, and that intimidation would have 
no effect upon them. 

Just at this moment also the gallop of a horse became 
audible ; the rider doubtless had the countersign, for he 
passed without difficulty through the patrols scattered 
along the Roche-Bernard road, and entered without dif- 
ficulty the town of Muzillac. He stopped before the door 
of Cadoudal's cottage. The latter raised his head and 
listened, and then, merely as a matter of precaution, 
placed his hand upon his pistols, although the new-comer 
was probably a friend. The rider dismounted, and opened 
the door of the room where Cadoudal was sitting. 

" Ah, is it you, Coeur-de-Roi ? " said Cadoudal. " Where 
do you come from 1 " 

" From Pouance, General." 

" What news 1 " 

"A letter from Tiffauges." 

" Let me have it." 

Georges took the letter quickly from Coeur-de-Roi's 
hand, and read it. "Ah!" he said. And he read it a 
second time. 

" Have you seen the person whose arrival he announces 1 " 
asked Cadoudal. 

"Yes, General," replied the courier. 
" What sort of a man is he ? " 

" A handsome young man, twenty six or seven years 
old." 

" And his appearance ? " 

"Very determined." 

" Probably ; when will he arrive 1 " 



THE SON OF THE MILLER OF LEGUERNO. 39 



" To-night, I suppose." 

" Have you given notice of him all along the road 1 " 

" Yes ; he will be allowed to pass freely." 

"Do it again; no harm must come to him, — he has 
Morgan's safeguard." 

" Very well, General." 

" Have you anything else to tell mef 

" The advance-guard of the Republicans is at la Roche- 
Bernard." 

" How many men 1 " 

" About a thousand ; they have with them a guillotine 
and the commissary of executive power, Milliere." 
" Are you sure 1 " 

" I met them on the road ; the commissioner was on 
horseback near the colonel, and I recognized him at once. 
He caused my brother to be executed, and I have sworn 
that he shall die by my hand." 

" And you will risk your life to keep such an oath 1 " 

" At the first opportunity." 

" Perhaps you will have it before long." 

At that moment the sound of a galloping horse was 
heard in the street. 

" Ah," said Coeur-de-Roi, " that is probably the one 
you are expecting." 

"No," said Cadoudal; "this one is coming from the 
direction of Vannes." 

As the sound became more distinct, they could see that 
Cadoudal w r as right. Like the first rider, the second one 
stopped before the door ; like the first, he dismounted; like 
the first, he entered. The royalist chief recognized him at 
once, in spite of the large cloak in which he was wrapped. 

" It is you, Ben^dicite 1 " 

"Yes, General." 

" Where do you come from 1 " 



40 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" From Valines, where you sent me to watch the Blues." 

" Well, what are the Blues doing 1 " 

"They are afraid of dying of hunger if you blockade 
the town ; and to get provisions, General Hatry proposes 
to carry off the stores from Grandchamp to-night. The 
general will command the expedition in person, and that 
it may be done the better, he will take only a hundred 
men with him." 

" Are you tired, Benedicite ? " 

" Xot at all, General." 

" And your horse 1 " 

" He came at a quick pace, but he can do four or five 
leagues more at the same rate without giving out." 

" Give him two hours' rest and a double ration of oats, 
and he can do ten 1 " 

" Under those conditions, yes." 

" In two hours you will set out ; you will be at Grand- 
champ by daylight ; you will give in my name the ordei to 
evacuate the village. I will take care of General Hatry 
and his men. Have you anything else to tell me 1 " 

"Yes, I have some news for you." 

" What is it ? " 

u Vannes has a new bishop." 

" Ah, then they are giving us back our bishops 1 " 

" So it seems ; but if they are all like this one, they 
might as well keep them." 

"And who is this one 1 ?" 

" Audrein." 

"The regicide?" 

"Audrein the renegade." 

u And when will he arrive 2 " 

"To-night or to-morrow." 

" I shall not interfere with him ; but he had better not 
come in the way of my men." 



THE SON OF THE MILLER OF LEGUERNO. 41 



Benedicite and Coeur-de-Roi laughed meaningly. 
" Hark ! " said Cadoudal. 
The three men listened. 

" This time it is probably he," said Cadoudal. 
They heard the gallop of a horse, coming from la Rc che- 
Bernard. 

" It is certainly he," repeated Cceur-de-Roi. 

" Then, my friends, leave me alone. You, Benedicite, 
go to Grandchamp as soon as possible ; you, Coeur-de-Roi, 
come to the courtyard with thirty men, — I may want to 
send messengers in different directions. By the way, arrange 
for them to bring me the best supper they can manage." 

"For how many, General]" 

" Oh, for two." 

"Are you going out] " 

" No ; I am only going to meet the new arrival." 

The horses of the two messengers had already been re- 
moved from the court. The messengers now made their 
escape in their turn. 

Cadoudal reached the street gate just as a horseman, 
stopping his horse and looking about him, apueared to 
hesitate. 

" It is here, Monsieur," said Cadoudal. 
" Who is here 1 " demanded the rider. 
" The one whom you are seeking." 
" How do you know whom I am seeking V 
"I suppose it is Georges Cadoudal, otherwise known as 
Round-head." 
" Exactly." 

" You are welcome, then, Monsieur Roland de Montre- 
vel, for I am he whom you seek." 

" Ah ! " ejaculated the young man in astonishment. 
And springing to the ground, he seemed to be looking for 
sonie one to take his horse. 



42 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Throw the bridle on your horse's neck, and give your- 
self no further uneasiness about him ; you will find him 
again when you want him. Nothing is ever lost in Bre- 
tagne ; it is the land of loyalty." 

The young man made no reply, but throwing the bridle 
on his horse's neck, as he had been told to do, followed 
Cadoudal, who walked before him. 

" I will go first to show you the way, Colonel," said the 
chief of the Chouans. 

And they both entered the cottage, where an invisible 
hand had just replenished the fire. 



WHITE AND BLUE. 



43 



CHAPTER V. 

WHITE AND BLUE. 

Roland entered the room behind Cadoudal, and as he 
came in he threw around him a glance of careless curi- 
osity. It was enough to assure him that they were 
alone. 

" Is this your headquarters? " asked Roland, with a smile, 
holding up his feet to the fire. 
"Yes, Colonel." 
"It is peculiarly guarded." 

Cadoudal smiled in his turn. "You say that," he 
said, " because from Roche-Bernard to this place you 
found the road free." 

" I did not meet a soul." 

" But that was no proof that the road was not guarded." 

" It might have been by the owls and screech-owls 
which seemed to fly from tree to tree accompanying me, — 
and in that case I withdraw my assertion. 7 ' 

" Exactly," said Cadoudal. " These same owls are my 
sentinels. They are sentinels which have good eyes, 
since they have the advantage of being able to see at 
night." 

" It is fortunate, nevertheless, that I made inquiries at 
Roche-Bernard ; otherwise I should not have found even 
a cat to tell me where I could meet you." 

" At whatever spot on the road you had asked aloud, 
'Where shall I find Georges Cadoudal ]' a voice would 



44 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



have replied to you, 'At the town of Muzillac, in the 
fourth house on the right.' You saw nobody, Colonel; 
but at this very hour there are at least fifteen thousand 
men who know that Colonel Roland, aide-de-camp to the 
First Consul, is in conference with the son of the miller 
of Leguerno." 

"But if they know that I am a colonel in the service of 
the Republic, and aide-de-camp to the First Consul, why 
did they let me pass 1 " 

"Because they had received the order to do so." 

" Did you then know that I was coming 1 " 

" I not only knew that you were coming, but I knew 
when you were coming." 

Roland looked intently at the other. " Then it is use- 
less for me to tell you, and you can reply just as well if I 
am silent." 

" Very nearly." 

" Upon my word ! I should like to have a proof of the 
superiority of your police over ours." 
" I will give you one, Colonel." 

"I shall listen with all the more satisfaction since I am 
seated before this excellent fire, which also seemed to ex- 
pect me." 

"You speak truer than you know, Colonel ; and the fire 
is not the only thing which will do its best to make you 
w r elcome." 

" Yes, but it does not tell me the object of my mission 
any more than you do." 

" Your mission, which you do me the honor to extend 
to me, Colonel, related in the first place to the Abbe Ber- 
nier alone. Unfortunately the Abbe Bernier, in a letter 
which he sent to his friend Martin Duboys, exceeded 
his prerogative, and offered his mediation to the First 
Consul." 



WHITE AND BLUE. 



45 



M I beg your pardon," interrupted Roland, " but you are 
telling me something of which I was ignorant. I did not 
know that the Abbe Bernier had written to General 
Bonaparte." 

" I said that he wrote to his friend Martin Duboys, 
which is a very different thing. My people intercepted 
his letter and brought it to me ; I had it copied and sent 
the letter on, and I am certain it reached its destina- 
tion. Your visit to General Hedouville is a proof of 
that." 

"You know that General Hedouville no longer com- 
mands at Nantes. General Brune has taken his place." 

" You might say commands at Eoche-Bernard ; for a 
thousand republican soldiers entered that town this even- 
ing about six o'clock, accompanied by the guillotine and 
by the commissioner-general, Thomas Milliere. Having 
the instrument, they needed the executioner." 

" Then you say, General, that I came to see the Abbe 
Bernier 1 " 

" Yes, he offered his mediation ; but he forgot that to- 
day there are two Vendees, — the Vendee of the right 
bank, and the Vendee of the left bank. And when a 
treaty has been made with D'Autichamp, Chatillon, and 
Suzannet at Pouance, it is still necessary to treat with 
Frotte, Bourmont, and Cadoudal. But the result of that 
is something which no one can tell." 

"Except you yourself, General." 

" Then, with the chivalry which is one of your charac- 
teristics, you engaged to bring me the treaty signed on 
the 25th. The Abbe Bernier, D'Autichamp, Chatillon, 
and Suzannet have signed a pass for you, and here you 
are." 

" Upon my word, General, I must say that you are 
perfectly well informed. The First Consul desires peace 



46 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



with all his heart. He knows that in you he has a brave 
and loyal adversary ; and since he cannot see you, owing 
to the fact that you will probably not come to Paris, he 
has sent me to you." 

16 That is to say, to the Abbe Bernier." 

" General, that matters little to you, if I engage that 
the First Consul shall ratify anything which we may ar- 
range between us. What are your conditions for 
peace % " 

" Oh, they are very simple, Colonel. Let the First Con- 
sul restore the throne to his Majesty Louis XVIIL, let 
him become his lieutenant-general and chief of his armies 
by land and by sea, and I for my part will become his 
first soldier." 

" The First Consul has already replied to this demand." 
"And that is why I myself have decided to reply to 
his answer." 
"When]" 

" This very night, if the occasion presents itself." 

" In what way 1 " 

" By resuming hostilities." 

"But you know that Chatillon, D'Autichamp, and Suz- 
annet have laid down their arms 1 " 

"They are chiefs of the Vendeeans, and in the name of 
the Vendeeans they can do what they like." 

" Then you condemn this unhappy country to a war of 
extermination 1 " 

" To a martyrdom rather, to which I assemble Christians 
and royalists." 

" General Brune is at Nantes with the eight thousand 
prisoners which the English have just returned to us after 
their defeats of Alkmaar and Castricum." 

" It is the last time that they will have this chance. 
The Blues have taught us the habit of making no pris- 



WHITE AND BLUE. 



47 



oners. As for the number of our enemies, we do not care 
for that; it is a mere matter of detail." 

" If General Brune and his eight thousand prisoners, 
aided by the twenty thousand soldiers whom he receives 
from General Hedouville, are not enough, the First Con- 
sul has decided to march against you in person, with one 
hundred thousand men." 

Cadoudal smiled. " We will try," he said, " to prove 
to him that we are worthy of fighting him." 

" He will burn your towns." 

" We will retire to our villages." 

" He will burn your villages." 

"We will live in our woods." 

"You will reflect, General?" 

"Do me the honor to remain with me forty-eight 
hours, Colonel, and you will see that I have already 
reflected." 

" I have a great mind to accept." 

" Only, Colonel, do not ask more than I can give you, 
— a bed under a thatched roof, or wrapped in a cloak 
under the branches of an oak, one of my horses so that 
you may follow me, and a safe conduct when you leave 
me." 

"I accept." 

" Give me your word, Colonel, not to oppose any orders 
which I may give, nor try to interfere with any enterprise 
which I may attempt." 

" You have my word, General. I am too curious to see 
your method of operation." 

"Whatever may take place under your eyes'?" 

" Whatever may take place under my eyes. I renounce 
the role of actor to take up that of spectator. I want to 
be able to say to the First Consul, " I have seen it." 

Cadoudal smiled. " Well, you will see it," he said. 



48 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Just then the door opened, and two peasants brought 
in a table already set, on which was smoking a cabbage- 
soup and a piece of pork ; an enormous jug of cider which 
had been freshly drawn was frothing between two glasses. 
Some buckwheat cakes were destined for the dessert of 
this modest repast. The table was laid for two. 

"As you see, Monsieur de Montrevel," said Cadoudal, 
" my people hope that you Mall do me the honor to eat 
supper with me." 

" And they are not mistaken. I should have asked 
some of you if you had not invited me ; and I should 
have tried to take some from you by force if you had 
refused me." 

" Come then." 

The young colonel seated himself gayly. 

" I ask your pardon for the meal which I offer you, 
said Cadoudal ; lt I have only what my soldiers can fur- 
nish me. What have you to give us with this, Brise-Bleu ? " 

" Fricasseed chicken, General." 

" There is the bill of fare of your dinner, Monsieur de 
Montrevel." 

" It is a feast ! and I have only one fear, General." 
" What is it ! " 

" As long as we are eating, everything will be well ; but 
when it comes to drinking — " 
" You do not like cider ! " 
"Ah, you embarrass me." 
" Cider or water is all we have." 

" That is not it ; but to whose health shall we drink 1 " 
"Is that all, sir 1 ?" said Cadoudal, with great dignity. 
" We will drink to the health of our common mother, 
France. We each serve her in a different spirit, but I 
hope with the same love. To France, Monsieur ! " he 
added, filling up the two glasses. 



WHITE AND BLUE. 



49 



"To France, General!" replied Roland, touching his 
glass to that of Cadoudal. 

And they both seated themselves again gayly, and with 
a clear conscience attacked the soup with appetites which 
were not yet thirty years old. 



VOL. II. — 4 



50 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER VI. 

RETALIATION. 

"And now, General," said Roland, when supper was 
over and the two young men, with their elbows on the 
table before a great fire, began to feel that comfortable 
condition which is the usual result of a meal that has 
been seasoned by appetite and youth, — " now you have 
promised to show me some things that 1 can report to the 
First Consul." 

" And you on your part have promised not to oppose 
them." 

" Yes ; but I reserve the privilege, if anything goes too 
much against my conscience, of going away." 

" You have only to throw the saddle on the back of 
your horse, Colonel, or of mine in case yours is too tired, 
and you are free." 

"Very well." 

"Certainly," said Cadoudal, "things are in your favor. 
I am here not only as a general, but as chief-justice ; and 
it is a long time since T have held a trial. You told me, 
Colonel, that General Brune was at Nantes. I knew it. 
You told me that his advance guard was four leagues from 
here, at Roche-Bernard. I knew that also. But some- 
thing which your parties do not know is that this ad- 
vanced guard is not commanded by a soldier like you and 
me. It is commanded by citizen Thomas Milliere, com- 
missioner of the executive power. Another thing of which 
you are perhaps ignorant is that citizen Thomas Milliere 



RETALIATION. 



51 



does not fight like us, with guns, bayonets, pistols, and 
swords, but with an instrument invented by one of 
your philanthropical republicans, which is called the 
' guillotine.' " 

" It is impossible, sir, that under the First Consul they 
can make that sort of war ! " 

"Ah, let us understand each other, Colonel. I do not 
say that the First Consul does it ; I only say that it is 
done in his name." 

"And who is the wretch who thus abuses the authority 
which is intrusted to him, and who makes war with a staff 
of executioners'?" 

" I have told you. He is called citizen Thomas Mil- 
liere. If you will make inquiries, Colonel, you will find 
that there has been in all la Vendee and la Bretagne only 
one opinion about this man since the day of the first 
Vendeean and Breton insurrection six years ago. This 
Milliere has always been one of the most active agents 
of the Terror. For him the Terror did not end with 
Eobespierre. He denounced to the superior authorities the 
Breton or Vendeean soldiers, their parents, their sisters, 
their wives, their daughters, even their wounded and 
dying, and ordered them all to be shot or guillotined with- 
out a trial. At Daumeray, for example, he left a trail of 
blood which is not yet effaced, and which never will be. 
More than eighty inhabitants had their throats cut before 
his eyes. Sons were struck in the arms of their mothers, 
who, vainly demanding vengeance, raised them bleeding 
to Heaven. When peace has been declared in la Vendee 
or la Bretagne it has not soothed the thirst for murder 
which burns in him. In 1800 he is just as he was in 
1793. Well, this man — " 

Eonald looked at the general. 

u Since this man," continued Cadoudal, with the great- 



52 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



est calmness, " has not been condemned by society, I have 
condemned him myself. He will die." 

" What ! he will die at Roche-Bernard 1 In the midst 
of the Republicans, in spite of his guard of assassins, in 
spite of his escort of executioners ? " 

" His hour has sounded, and he will die." 

Cadoudal pronounced these words with such solemnity 
that not a doubt remained in Roland's mind, not only con- 
cerning the judgment but concerning the execution of it. 
He remained thoughtful for a moment. 

" And you think you have a right to condemn this man, 
however guilty he may be 1 " 

" Yes ; for this man has judged and condemned, not the 
guilty, but the innocent." 

" Suppose I should tell you that on my return to Paris 
I would ask for the arrest and trial of this man, would 
you not have faith in my word 1 " 

"I should have faith in your word ; but I should tell 
you that a savage beast can escape from its cage, and a 
murderer can escape from his prison. All men are sub- 
ject to error ; they have sometimes condemned innocent 
ones, and it is possible that they might spare the guilty 
one. My justice is surer than yours, Colonel, for it is the 
justice of God. This man will die." 

" And by what right do yon say that your justice, the 
justice of a man liable to error like other men, is the justice 
of God?" 

" Because I have shared it with God. His judgment is 
not of recent date." 

" What do you mean 1 " 

" In the midst of a storm, when the thunder rolled 
without ceasing and the lightning shone constantly, I 
raised my arms to Heaven and I said, ' God ! 0 God ! Thou 
of whom this lightning is the glance, this thunder the 



RETALIATION. 



53 



voice, if this man ought to die, cause thy thunder and 
thy lightning to cease for ten minutes. The silence and 
the darkness will be thy answer.' And with my watch in 
my hand I counted eleven minutes without lightning or 
thunder. — I saw from a hill, in a terrible tempest, a vessel 
manned by a single person, which threatened each moment 
to be lost. A wave took it as the breath of a child lifts a 
feather, and let it fall back again on the rock. The ship 
was broken in pieces, and the man crouched upon the 
rock. Everybody cried, ' He is lost ! ' His father was 
there and his two brothers, and neither brothers nor father 
dared attempt to help him. I raised my arms to the Lord, 
and I said, ' If Milliere is condemned by you as by me, 

0 God ! I will save this man ; and without other help 
than yours I will save myself.' I took off my clothes 
and tied the end of a rope around my arm, and swam out 
to the rock. It seemed as if the sea grew quiet under 
my breast. I reached the man ; his father and brothers 
held the other end of the rope; he reached the bank. I 
could have returned as he did, by tying the rope around 
the rock. I threw it away from me and confided myself 
to God ; the waves carried me to the bank as gently and 
surely as the waters of the Nile brought Moses' cradle 
towards the daughter of Pharoah. — A hostile sentinel 
had been placed before the village of St.-Nolf. I was 
concealed in the woods of Grandchamp with fifty men. 

1 went alone out of the wood, recommending my soul to 
God, and saying, ' O God ! if you have decided upon 
Milliere's death, this sentinel will fire upon me and miss 
me, and I will go back to my men without harm, for you 
will have been with me for a moment.' I marched upon 
the Republican at twenty paces ; he fired upon me and 
missed, — here is the bullet-hole in my hat, a thumb's 
breadth from my head. The hand of God himself aimed 



54 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the weapon. This thing happened yesterday. I thought 
Milliere was at Nantes ; this evening they came to tell me 
that he and his guillotine were at Roche-Bernard. Then 
I said God has helped me, and he will die." 

Roland had listened with a certain respect to the super- 
stitious narrative of the Breton chief. It did not astonish 
him to find this faith and poetry in a man who lived face 
to face with the wild sea and in the midst of the Dolmens 
of Karnac. He understood that Milliere was really con- 
demned, and that God, who had seemed to approve of his 
judgment three times over, alone could save him. But he 
asked a final question. 

" How will you kill him 1 " he asked. 

" Oh," said Cadoudal, " he will be killed ; I do not care 
anything about the method." 

One of the two men who had brought the supper-table 
entered just then. 

" Brise-Bleu," said Cadoudal, " tell Cceur-de-Roi that I 
want to speak to him for a moment." 

Two minutes afterwards the Breton stood before the 
general. 

"Cceur-de-Roi," asked Cadoudal, "did you not tell me 
that the assassin Thomas Milliere was at Roche-Bernard V 

" I saw him enter it, side by side with a Republican, 
who did not seem to feel very much pleasure at his 
company." 

" Did you not add that he was followed by his 
guillotine 1 » 

" I told you that his guillotine was following between 
two cannon, and I think that if the cannon could have 
rolled away from him, they would have done it all alone." 

"What precautions does Milliere take in the towns 
which he inhabits 1 " 

" He has around him a special guard ; the streets lead- 



0 

RETALIATION. 55 

ing to his house are barricaded ; and he always has a pair 
of pistols within reach of his hand." 

" In spite of this guard, in spite of this barricade, in 
spite of these pistols, do you agree to reach him 1 ?" 

" I agree to do it, General.' 7 

" Because of his crimes I have condemned this man. 
He must die ! " 

" Ah," cried Cceur-de-Roi, " the day of justice has 
come ! " 

" Will you execute my order, Coeur-de-Eoi % " 
U I will execute it, General." 

" Go, Cceur-de-Roi ; take as many men as you want ; 
employ any stratagem which you like, — but reach him 
and kill him." 

" If I should die, General — " 

'* Make your mind easy. The cure of Leguerno will 
say enough Masses for you, so that your poor soul will not 
remain in Purgatory. But you will not die, Cceur-de- 
Roi." 

" Well, well, General, one can ask no more than Masses. 
I have a plan." 

« When will you go 1 " 
"To-night." 

" When will he be dead ? " 
" To-morrow." 

" Go; and let three hundred men be ready to follow me 
in half an hour." 

Cceur-de-Roi went out as quietly as he had entered. 

" You see," said Cadoudal, "these are the men whom I 
command. Is your First Consul as well served as I, Mon- 
sieur de Montrevel V* 

" By some, yes." 

" Well, with me it is not a few, — it is everybody." 
Ben6dicite entered and cast an inquiring look at 
Cadoudal. 



56 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Yes," he replied, nodding his head. 
Benedicite went out. 

" You did not see any one on your way here 1 " asked 
Cadoudal. 
" No one." 

" I have sent for three hundred men to be here in half 
an hour. They will be here. If I had asked for five 
hundred, a thousand, or two thousand, they would have 
been ready as promptly. " 

"But," said Roland, "you have, in numbers at least, 
limits which you cannot exceed." 

" Would you like to know the extent of my forces 1 
It is a very simple matter-; but I shall not tell you my- 
self, for you .would not believe me. But wait, and you 
shall listen." He opened a door and called : " Branche- 
d'Or ! " 

Two seconds later Branche-d'Or appeared. 

" This is my major-general," said Cadoudal, laughing. 
" He fulfils for me the office which General Berthier fills 
for the First Consul. Branche-d'Or ! " 

" General ! " 

" How manj r men are scattered along the road between 
Roche-Bernard and this place, — I mean the road which 
this gentleman came over just now 1 " 

" Six hundred on the moors of Arzal, six hundred on 
the heaths of Marzen, three hundred at Peaule, and 
three hundred at Biiliers." 

"Total, eighteen hundred. How many are there be- 
tween Noyal and Muzillac 1 " 

" Four hundred." 

" Twenty-two hundred. How many are there between 
here and Vannes 1 " 

" Fifty at Theix, three hundred at la Trinite, six hun- 
dred between la Trinite and Muzillac." 



RETALIATION. 



57 



" Thirty-two hundred. And from Ambon to Leguerno 1 " 
" Twelve hundred." 

"Forty-four hundred. How many in this very city, 
around me, in the houses, gardens, and cellars 1 " 
" Five or six hundred, General." 

" Thanks, Benedicite." He made a sign with his head, 
and Benedicite went out. " You see," said Cadoudal, 
simply, "there are about five thousand men. Well, with 
these five thousand men, all belonging to the region, who 
know each tree, each stone, each bush, I can make war 
upon the hundred thousand men whom the First Consul 
threatens to send against me." 

Roland smiled. 

" Yes, — you think that is putting it rather strong 1 " 

" I think you are boasting a little, Genera]." 

" No, for I have the whole population as an extra force. 
One of your generals cannot make a movement without 
my knowing it ; he cannot send a message without my 
surprising it ; he cannot find a refuge where I will not 
pursue him. The very land is royalist and Christian. If 
there were no inhabitants, it would speak and say to me, 
' The Blues passed here, and are concealed there.' But at 
last you are about to judge of it." 

" How 1 " 

" We are going to make an expedition to a place six 
leagues from here. What time is it 1 ?" 

Both young men drew out their watches at the same 
time. " A quarter of twelve," they said. 

" Good ! " returned Cadoudal. " Our watches mark the 
same hour, and that is a good sign. Perhaps one day our 
hearts will be as nearly in accord as our watches." 

" You were saying, General — " 

" I was saying that it is a quarter of twelve, Colonel, 
and that at six o'clock, before daylight, we must be seven 
leagues from here. Do you need any rest 1 " 



58 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



"I?" 

14 Yes ; you may sleep an hour." 

" Thanks ; but there is no need of it." 

" Then we will start as soon as you like." 

" And your men 1 " 

" Oh, my men are ready." 

" Where are they 1 " 

" Everywhere." 

" I would like to see them." 

" You will see them." 

" When?" 

"When you like. Oh, my men are very discreet, and 
they do not show themselves unless I make a sign to them 
to do so." 

"So that if I desire to see them — " 

" You will say so to me. I will make a sign, and they 
will show themselves." 

" Let us go, General." 

" Let us go." 

The two young men wrapped themselves in their cloaks 
and went out. At the door Roland ran against a little 
group of five men. These five men had on the Republican 
uniform. One of them had upon his sleeves a seigeant's 
lace. 

" What is that i " asked Roland. 

" Nothing," replied Cadoudal, laughing. 

" But these men, what are they?" 

" Cceur de Roi and his men, who are starting on the 
expedition that you know about." 

" Then they intend, by means of these uniforms — " 

" Oh, you shall know everything, Colonel. I have no 
secrets from you." And turning towards the group he 
said: « Cceur de Roi ! " 

The man whose sleeves were ornamented with the 



EETALIATION. 



59 



gold lace stepped out of the group and came towards 
Cadoudal. 

44 Did you call me, General 1 " he asked. 
"Yes. I want to know your plan." 
" Oh, it is a very simple one." 
" Let me judge of it." 

" I will take this paper — " Coeur de Roi showed a 
large envelope sealed with a red seal, which had doubtless 
contained some Republican order that had been surprised 
by the Chouans. " I shall say to the sentinels, * Here is 
an order from the general of division.' I shall enter the 
first station, and ask them to tell me which houso belongs 
to the citizen commissioner. They will point it out to me, 
and I will thank them ; for we must always be polite. I 
shall come to the house and find there a second sentinel, 
and I shall tell him the same story that I told the first. 
I shall go up or down to citizen Milliere, according to 
whether he lives in the garret or cellar. I shall enter 
without any difficulty, for you understand I shall be carry- 
ing an order from the general of division. I shall find 
him in his private office or elsewhere ; I shall give him 
my paper, and while he unseals it I shall kill him with 
this dagger which is concealed in my sleeve." 

" Yes, but you and your men 1 " 

" Oh, we shall be in God's care. We are defending his 
cause, and he will look out for us." 

" Well ; you see, Colonel, there is nothing difficult about 
it," said Cadoudal. " To horse ! Good luck, Coeur de 
Roi ! " 

" Which of the two horses shall I take ? " asked 
Roland. 

44 It makes no difference ; one is as good as the other, 
and each one carries an excellent pair of pistols of Eng- 
lish make." 



60 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" All loaded 1 " 

" And well loaded, Colonel. That is something which 
I trust to no one." 
" Then let us go." 

The two young men mounted their horses and took the 
road to Vannes, Cadoudal serving as guide to Roland, and 
Branche d'Or, the major-general of the army, as Cadoudal 
had called him, marching twenty steps behind. When 
they had reached the extremity of the village, Roland 
looked along the road, which extends almost in a straight 
line from Muzillac to la Trinite. The road, entirely bare, 
seemed to be perfectly deserted. They went thus for 
about half a league. At the end of this half league Ro- 
land asked, — 

" But where the devil are your men 1 " 

" At our right, at our left, before us, and behind us." 

" Oh, that is a good joke ! " said Roland. 

M It is no joke, Colonel. Do you think that I am mad- 
man enough to risk myself thus without scouts ] " 

"You told me, I think, that if I wanted to see your 
men I had only to say so to you." 

" That is what I said." 

"Very well, I should like to see them." 

" All, or only a part of them 1 " 

"How many did you say you were to take with 
you?" 

" Three hundred." 

"Well, I should like to see one hundred and fifty." 
" Halt!" said Cadoudal. 

Bringing his two hands to his mouth, Cadoudal imitated 
first the hooting of the screech-owl, and then the cry of 
the owl ; but he turned to the right for the hooting, and 
to the left for the other. Almost instantly, from the sides 
of the road, human forms could be seen moving. Each 



RETALIATION. 



61 



leaped the ditch which separated the road from the fields, 
and came and stood on both sides of the horses. 

" Who commands on the right 1 ?" asked Cadoudal. 

" I, Moustache," replied a peasant, approaching. 

" Who commands on the left ? " repeated the general. 

" I, Chante-en-Hiver," replied another peasant, drawing 
near. 

" How many men have you, Moustache? " 
" One hundred." 

" How many men have you, Chante-en-Hiver? " 
" Fifty." 

" One hundred and fifty in all, then ? 19 asked Cadoudal. 
"Yes," replied the two Breton chiefs. 
"Do you make it out so, Colonel?" asked Cadoudal, 
laughing. 

" You are a magician, General ! 99 

" No, I am only a poor peasant like themselves ; but I 
command a troop in which each brain keeps account of 
what it does, and each heart beats for the two great prin- 
ciples of this world, — religion and loyalty." Then 
turning towards his men, he asked : " Who commands the 
advance guard ? " 

" Fend-PAir," replied the two Chouans. 

" And the rear guard ? 99 

" La Giberne." 

"Then we can continue quietly on our way?" 

" Ah, General, just as if you were going to Mass in 
your own village church ! " 

" Then let us go on, Colonel," said Cadoudal to Roland. 
And turning towards his men, he said : " You may go, 
my good fellows." 

At the same instant each man leaped the ditch and dis- 
appeared. For a few moments the rustling of branches in 
the thickets and the sound of steps in the underbrush 
could be heard ; then all was silent. 



62 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Well," asked Cadoudal, " do you think that with such 
men I have any need to fear your Blues, however "brave 
they may be ] " 

Roland uttered a sigh. He was entirely of Cadoudal's 
opinion. 

They continued to advance. About a league from la 
Trinite they saw in the road a black speck, which rapidly 
grew larger. When it had become more distinct it sud- 
denly seemed to pause. 

" What is that?" asked Eoland. 

"As you see," replied Cadoudal, " it is a man." 

" Of course ; but who is this man 1 " 

" You may have guessed by the rapidity of his advance 
that he is a messenger." 

" W 7 hy has he stopped 1 " 

" Because he has seen us, and does not know whether 
to advance or draw back." 
" What is he going to do 1 " 
" He is waiting to decide." 
"For what?" 
" A signal." 

"And will he answer the signal % " 

" He will not only answer it, but he will obey it. Do 
you want him to come, or do you want him to go back, 
or do you want him to go to one side 1 " 

"I should like to have him come forwards, as that is 
the best way to learn the news which he bears." 

Cadoudal imitated a cuckoo's notes with such perfec- 
tion that Eoland looked around him. 

" It is I," said Cadoudal. " Do not look for it." 

" Then the messenger is going to come % " 

" He is not going to come, he is coming." 

In fact, the messenger was approaching rapidly. In a 
few seconds he was near his general. 



RETALIATION. 



63 



"Ah," said the latter, "is it you, Monte-a-l'Assaut V 
The general leaned over. Monte-a-l'Assaut said a few 
words in his ear. 

" Yes, Benedicite has already told me," said Cadoudal. 
Then, turning towards Roland, he said : "In a quarter 
of an hour a very important event will take place in the 
village of la Trinite, which you should witness. Let us 
hurry." 

Setting the example, he put spurs to his horse ; and 
Roland followed him. When they reached the village 
they could distinguish a multitude moving about the place 
by the light of their pine torches. The cries and the 
movements of this multitude did in fact announce some 
great event. 

" Hurry, hurry ! " said Cadoudal. 

Roland asked nothing better, and put spurs to his horse 
again. At the sound of the galloping horses the peasants 
moved one side ; there were five or six hundred at least, 
all armed. Cadoudal and Roland were in the circle of 
light, in the midst of the excitement and the rumors. 
The throng was thickest at the entrance of the street lead- 
ing to the village of Tridon. A diligence was just coming 
through this street, guarded by twelve Chouans. Two of 
them were at each side of the postilion, and the other 
ten were guarding the doors. In the middle of the 
square the carriage stopped. Every one was so occupied 
with the diligence that no one paid any attention to 
Cadoudal. 

" Hallo ! " cried Cadoudal, <£ what is going on here 1" 
At this well known voice every one turned and all 
heads were bared. 

"The great Round-head," murmured each voice. 
" Yes," said Cadoudal. 
A man approached him. 



64 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Were you not notified both by Benedicite and by 
Monte-a-l'Assaut ? " he asked. 
"Yes." 

" Is this the diligence from Ploermel to Vannes 1 " 
"Yes, General; it was stopped between Trefleon and 
St-Nolf." 

"Is he in it?" t 
" They think so." 

" Do as your conscience dictates. If there is a crime 
against God, take it upon yourselves ; I only charge myself 
with responsibility towards men. I will watch what is 
passing, but without taking any part in it, either to pre- 
vent or aid." 

" Well," asked a hundred voices, " what did he say, 
Sabre-tout 1 " 

" He says we can do as our conscience thinks best, and 
that he washes his hands of it." 

"Long live the great Round-head ! " they all cried, 
hastening towards the diligence. 

Cadoudal remained motionless in the midst of the tor- 
rent. Eoland was near him, motionless as himself and full 
of curiosity, for he was entirely ignorant of what was 
about to happen. The man who had come to speak to 
Cadoudal, and whom his companions had called Sabre- 
tout, opened the door of the diligence ; then they saw 
the travellers, huddled together and trembling in its 
depths. 

" If you have nothing to reproach yourselves with 
against the king and religion," said Sabre-tout, in a full, 
loud voice, " descend without fear. We are not brigands ; 
we are Christians and royalists." 

This declaration doubtless reassured the travellers ; for 
a man presented himself at the door and descended ; then 
two women, then a mother pressing her child in her arms, 



RETALIATION. 



65 



and then another man. The Chouans received them at 
the carriage-step, looked at them intently, and not recog- 
nizing the one for whom they were seeking, said, " Pass 
on." A single man remained in the carriage. A Chouan 
lifted a flaming torch, and they saw that the man was a 
priest. 

" Minister of the Lord," said Sabre-tout, " why did you 
not get down with the others 1 Did you not hear me say 
that we were all royalists and Christians?" 

The priest did not move, but his teeth chattered. 

"But in any case," continued Sabre-tout, "does not 
your coat plead for you? A man who wears a cassock 
should fear nothing, either from royalty or religion." 

The priest crouched down, murmuring, " Mercy ! 
Mercy ! " 

" Why mercy?" asked Sabre-tout. "Do you then feel 
that you are guilty, you wretch ? " 

u Oh," said Eoland, "gentlemen, is that how you 
speak to a man of God ? " 

" This man," replied Cadoudal, " is not a man of God, 
but a man of the Devil." 

" Who is he ? " 

"He is at once an atheist and a regicide. He has de- 
nied his God and voted for the death of the king. He is 
Audrein." 

Roland shivered. "What are they going to do with 
him ? " he asked. 

" He gave death, and he will receive it," replied 
Cadoudal. 

In the mean time the two Chouans had brought 
Audrein from the diligence. 

"Ah, so it is you, Bishop of Vannes?" said Sabre- 
tout. 

" Mercy ! " cried the bishop. 

VOL. II. — 5 



66 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



"We had been told that you were coming, and we 
were waiting for you." 

" Mercy ! " repeated the bishop for the third time. 
" Have you your bishop's robes with you 1 " 
" Yes, my friends, I have." 

" Well, dress yourself in them ; it is a long time since 
we have seen them." 

They took down from the diligence a trunk bearing the 
bishop's name. They opened it and drew out a bishop's 
costume and gave it to Audrein, who put it on. Then, 
when he had done so, the peasants arranged themselves in 
a circle, each one holding his gun in his hand. The light 
of the torches reflected upon the weapons, which threw 
out sinister gleams. Two men took the bishop and led 
him within the circle, supporting him under his arms. 
He was as pale as death. There was a moment of ter- 
rible silence. A voice broke it, — it was that of Sabre- 
tout. 

"We are about to judge you," said the Chouan. 
" Priest of God, you have betrayed the Church. Child 
of France, you have condemned your king." 

" Alas ! alas ! " stammered the priest. 

"Is it true?" 

" I do not deny it." 

" Because it is impossible for you to deny it. What 
have you to reply in justification ? " 
" Citizens — " 

" We are not citizens," said Sabre-tout, in a voice of 
thunder ; " we are royalists." 
" Gentlemen — " 

" We are not gentlemen, we are Chouans." 
"My friends — " 

"We are not your friends, we are your judges. Your 
iudges question you ; answer them ! " 



RETALIATION. 



67 



" I repent what I did, and I ask pardon of God and 
man for it." 

" Man cannot pardon you," replied the same implac- 
able voice ; " for if you were pardoned to-day you 
would begin again to-morrow. You can change your skin, 
but you can never change your heart. You have nothing 
but death to expect from men ; as for God, implore his 
mercy." 

The regicide bowed his head, and. his knees bowed be- 
neath him ; but suddenly standing erect, he said, — 

" I voted the death of the king, it is true, but with 
the reservation — 

" What reservation 1 " 

" The reservation of the time when the execution should 
take place." 

" Whether near or distant, it was death which you 
voted, and the king was innocent." 

" That is true, that is true," said the priest ; " but I 
was afraid." 

" Then you are not only a regicide and an apostate, but 
a coward as well. We are not priests, but we will be 
more just than you. You voted for the death of an inno- 
cent man, and we vote for the death of a guilty one. 
You have ten minutes in which to prepare to appear 
before God." 

The bishop uttered a cry of fright, and fell on his 
knees. The church-bell tolled as if of its own accord, and 
two of the men who were accustomed to the chants of 
the church began to repeat the prayers for the dying. It 
was some time before the bishop could speak the words 
by which he ought to reply to them. He turned towards 
his judges a frightened face, which gradually became ap- 
pealing; but he met with no expression of pity. On the 
contrary, the torches which flickered in the wind gave 



68 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



every face a savage and terrible appearance. Then he 
joined his voice to the voices of those who prayed for 
him. The judges waited until the last word of the familiar 
prayer was spoken. In the mean time some men were 
preparing a pile of wood. 

" Oh ! " cried the priest, with increasing terror, " have 
you the cruelty to reserve such a death for me? " 

"No," replied the inflexible accuser. "The fire is the 
death of martyrs, and you are not worthy of such a death. 
Come, apostate, your hour is at hand." 

" Oh, my God ! my God ! " cried the priest, raising his 
arms to heaven. 

" Stand up ! " said the Chouan. 

The bishop tried to obey, but his strength failed him, 
and he fell upon his knees. 

u Are you going to allow the assassination to be ac- 
complished under your very eyes?" asked Boland of 
Cadoudal. 

" I have said that I wash my hands of it," replied the 
latter. 

" That was Pilate's speech ; and Pilate's hands were 
reddened with the blood of Jesus Christ." 

" Because Jesus Christ was a just man ; but this man 
is not Jesus Christ, he is Barabbas." 

" Kiss the cross ! Kiss the cross ! " cried Sabre- 
tout. 

The priest looked around him with a frightened air, but 
without obeying. It was evident that he saw nothing and 
heard nothing of what was passing. 

" Oh," cried Eoland, making a movement to descend 
from his horse ; " it shall never be said that they have 
assassinated a man in my presence, and that I have not 
tried to help him." 

A murmur of threats rolled around Eoland. The words 



RETALIATION. 



69 



which he had just pronounced had been heard. That 
was all that was needed to excite the impetuous young 
man. 

"Ah, is it so 1 " he said; and he reached for one of his 
pistols. 

But with a movement as rapid as thought Cadoudal 
seized his hand, and while Roland vainly tried to dis- 
engage it from the iron grasp Cadoudal said : " Fire ! " 

Twenty shots resounded at once, and the bishop fell as 
if struck by a thunderbolt. 

"Ah," cried Roland, " what are you doing?" 

" I forced you to keep your oath," replied Cadoudal. 
" You swore to see and hear everything without offering 
any opposition." 

" Thus perish all enemies of God and the king ! " said 
Sabre-tout, in a solemn voice. 

" Amen ! " replied the others, as with one voice. 

Then they tore the bishop's robes from the corpse, and 
threw them into the flames of the burning wood. They 
made the other travellers re-enter the diligence, put the 
postilion in his saddle, and making a passage-way before 
them, said : " Go, and God be with you ! " The diligence 
rolled rapidly away. 

" Come, we must be going," said Cadoudal. " We have 
still four leagues to make, and we have lost an hour here." 
Then addressing the executioner, he said : " This man was 
guilty and has been punished. Human and divine jus- 
tice are satisfied. Let the prayers for the dead be said 
above his body, and let him have Christian burial. Do 
you understand 1 " And sure of being obeyed, Cadoudal 
glided away. 

Roland seemed to hesitate a moment whether he should 
follow him : then, as if he had decided upon accomplish- 
ing a duty, he said : " Let us go on to the end." And 



70 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



urging his horse in the direction which Cadoudal had 
taken, he soon rejoined him. 

They disappeared in the darkness, which seemed to 
grow more dense in proportion as they went farther away 
from the place where the torches were lighting the dead 
priest, and the fire was devouring his vestments. 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 71 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 

Roland's feelings as he followed Cacloudal resembled 
those of a man half awake, who feels himself still under 
the empire of a dream, and who approaches little by little 
the point which separates night from day ; he tried to 
think whether he was in the land of fiction or that of re- 
ality, and the more he sought among the shadows of his 
brain the more doubtful he became. 

There was one man in existence for whom Roland felt 
something amounting to worship. Accustomed to living 
in the glorious atmosphere which surrounded this man ; 
accustomed to seeing others obeying his commands, and to 
obeying him himself with an almost Oriental promptness, 
— it seemed to him astonishing to meet in the two ex- 
tremities of France two organized powers, which were op- 
posed to this man, and ready to go to war with him. It 
was as if one of the Jews of Judas Maccabeus, adoring 
Jehovah, and having from his infancy heard men call upon 
the King of Kings, — the great God, the avenging God, 
the God of armies, the Eternal, — should suddenly invoke 
the mysterious Osiris of the Egyptians or the thunder- 
wielding Jupiter of the Greeks. His adventures at Avig- 
non and Bourg with Morgan and the companions of Jehu, 
and in the town of Muzillac and at the village of la Trin- 
ite with Cadoudal and the Chouans, seemed to him like a 
strange initiation into some unknown religion ; but, like a 
courageous neophyte, who risks even death to learn the 



72 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



secrets of initiation, lie resolved to persevere to the end. 
Besides, he was not without a certain admiration for these 
extraordinary characters ; it was not without astonishment 
that he reflected upon these Titans in revolt, who had 
dared to war against his god ; and he well knew that the 
men who had stabbed Sir John in the monastery of 
Seillon, and who had shot the Bishop of Valines in the 
village of la Trinite, were no ordinary men. 

What was he about to see next 1 He would soon know, 
for they had been on the road for five hours and a half, 
and day was approaching. Beyond the village of Tridon 
they had gone across country ; then, leaving Vannes on 
the left, they had reached Trefleon. At Trefleon, Cadou- 
dal, still followed by his major-general, Branche-d'Or, had 
met Monte-a-l'Assaut and Chante-en-Hiver, and given them 
some orders, after which he had continued on his way, 
bearing to the left and reaching the border of the little 
wood which extends from Grandchamp to Larre. 

There Cadoudal halted, uttered three times in succes- 
sion the hoot of the owl, and in a moment was surrounded 
by three hundred men. A gray light was dawning in the 
direction of Trefleon and St.-Nolf ; it was not the first rays 
of the sun, but the beginning of the daylight. A thick 
fog lay upon the earth, making it impossible to see objects 
fifty feet away. 

Before venturing farther, Cadoudal seemed to await 
news. Suddenly they heard, not five hundred feet away, 
the crowing of a cock. Cadoudal listened attentively; 
his men looked smilingly at one another. The sound was 
heard again, this time nearer. 

u It is he ! " said Cadoudal ; " answer ! " 

The howling of a dog was heard close by Roland, who, 
notwithstanding he had been led to know what to expect, 
looked around him for the animal who had uttered the 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 73 



mournful sound. Almost at the same moment a mans 
form became visible in the fog, advancing rapidly, and 
growing clearer as he drew near. The new-comer saw the 
two riders, and approached them. Cadoudal stepped for- 
ward, at the same time putting his finger to his lip, in 
token that the man was to speak softly. The latter there- 
fore did not stop until he had reached the general. 

" Well, Eleur-d'Epine," said Cadoudal, " have we got 
them?" 

" Like mice in a trap ; not one of them will ever get 
back to Vannes unless you choose." 

" I ask nothing better ; how many are they 1 " 

" A hundred men, commanded by the general in person." 

" How many wagons 1 " 

" Seventeen." 

" When will they march % " 

" They must be three quarters of a league from here 
now." 

" What road do they take 1 " 

"That from Grandchamp to Vannes." 

" So that if I extend a line from Meucon to Plescop — " 

xt You will bar their way." 

" Very good." 

Cadoudal called his four lieutenants, Chante-en-Hiver, 
Monte-a-l'Assaut, Fend-PAir, and la Giberne. Then, when 
they had come to him, he gave them each their men. 
Each one in turn uttered the cry of the screech-owl, and 
disappeared with fifty men. The fog was still so thick 
that the fifty men forming each of these groups had not 
gone a hundred feet before they disappeared like shadows. 

Cadoudal remained where he was, with a hundred men, 
Branche-d'Or, and Fleur-d'Epine. He rejoined Roland. 

" Well, General," said the latter, " is everything going 
as you wish ? " 



74 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Yes, very nearly, Colonel," replied the other ; " in 
half an hour you can judge for yourself." 

" It will be difficult to judge of anything in this fog." 

Cadoudal glanced around him. " In half an hour/' he 
said, " it will be gone ; will you take advantage of this 
half hour by eating and drinking something 1 " 

" Upon my word," replied the young man, "the march 
has certainly made me hungry." 

"And for my part," said Cadoudal, "it is always my 
habit to eat a hearty breakfast before going into battle." 

" Then there will be a fight 1 " 

" I think so." 

"Against whom]" 

''Against the Republicans; and since General Hatry 
will be here in person, he probably will not yield without 
resistance." 

" And do the Republicans know that they are about to 
fight you V 

" They have not a suspicion of it." 
" Then it is a surprise 1 " 

" "Not entirely, provided the fog lifts so that they can 
see us as well as we see them." Then, turning towards 
those who seemed to have charge of the provisions, he 
asked : " Brise-Bleu, have you anything for our break- 
fast?" 

Brise-Bleu made an affirmative sign, and going into the 
wood, led forth a donkey with two panniers. In a mo- 
ment a cloak was thrown over a mound of earth, and upon 
the cloak a roast chicken, a piece of pork, some bread, and 
some buckwheat cakes were spread out. Brise-Bleu had a 
luxurious feast to-day, for he had procured a bottle of 
wine and a glass. 

Cadoudal drew Roland's attention to the improvised re- 
past. Roland sprang from his horse, and gave the bridle 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 75 

to a Chouan. Cadoudal followed his example. " Xow," 
said the latter, turning towards his men, " you have half 
an hour in which to follow our example ; those who have 
not "breakfasted in that time will have to fight upon empty 
stomachs." 

The invitation seemed equivalent to an order, such was 
the alacrity with which it was accepted. Each one drew 
a piece of bread or a buckwheat cake from his pocket, and 
imitated the example of his general, who had already 
carved the chicken for his own benefit and that of Roland. 
As there was only one glass, they both drank out of it. 

While they were breakfasting side by side like two 
hunting-companions, the day broke, and as Cadoudal had 
predicted, the fog steadily decreased. Soon they saw the 
nearest trees, then the line of woods extending on the 
right from Meucon to Grandchamp, while on the left the 
plain of Plescop, divided by a brook, extended as far as 
Vannes. This natural slope of the land became more ap- 
parent in proportion as it approached the sea. 

On the road from Grandchamp to Plescop they soon 
distinguished a line of carts whose end was hidden in the 
woods. This line of carts was motionless, and it was easy 
to understand that some unforeseen obstacle had arrested 
its course. In fact, at an eighth of a league in front of 
the first cart could be distinguished the two hundred men 
of Monte-a-l'Assaut, Chante-en-Hiver, Fend-l'Air, and la 
Giberne, which barred the way. The Republicans, who 
were inferior in number, having only a hundred men, had 
halted, and were waiting until the fog should entirely dis- 
appear, so that they might be certain of the number of 
the enemy with whom they were confronted. Men and 
carts formed a triangle, of which Cadoudal and his hundred 
men made one of the extremities. 

At sight of this insignificant number of men sur- 



76 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



rounded by a force three times as great, and at the uni- 
form whose color had given the name of Blues to the 
Republicans, Roland quickly rose. As for Cadoudal, he 
remained quietly extended upon the grass, finishing his 
meal. Of the hundred men around him, not one seemed 
to notice what was going on before his eyes ; it was as if 
they were awaiting Cadoudal's order, before paying atten- 
tion to it. Roland only needed to look once to see that 
the Republicans were doomed. 

Cadoudal watched the different feelings which chased 
each other over the young man's face. " Well," asked he, 
after a moment of silence, " do you think I have made 
my arrangements well ? " 

" You would do better to say your precautions, Gen- 
eral," replied Roland, with a mocking smile. 

"Is it not the First Consul's habit," asked Cadoudal, 
"to take advantage of opportunities when he can?" 

Roland bit his lips, and instead of replying to the ques- 
tion of the royalist chief, he said : " General, I hope you 
will not refuse me the favor which I am about to ask." 

"What is it?" 

" I want permission to go and be killed with my com- 
rades." 

Cadoudal rose. " I expected this," he said. 
" Then you will consent ? " asked Roland, his eyes 
sparkling. 

" Yes ; but first I want you to do something for me," 
replied the royalist chief, with great dignity. 
" Name it, sir." 

" I want you to be my ambassador to General Hatry." 
"To what end?" 

" I have several proposals to make to him before we be- 
gin to fight." 

" I suppose that among these proposals which you do 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 



77 



me the honor to confide to me you do not include that of 
laying down arms 1 " 

"On the contrary, you may easily understand that that 
heads the list." 

" General Hatry will refuse." 

« Probably." 

"And then?" 

" Then I will give him his choice between two other 
proposals which he may, in my opinion, accept without 
loss of honor." 

"What are they?" 

" I will tell you in their proper time and place; we 
will begin with the first." 
" Formulate it." 

" This is it. General Hatry and his hundred men are 
surrounded by a force three times their number. I offer 
them their lives ; but they must lay down their arms, and 
take oath not to serve again in la Vendee for five years." 

Roland shook his head. 

" This, however, would be better than to kill all his 
men," said Cadoudal. 

" Perhaps so ; but he would rather have them all killed, 
and die with them." 

"But do you not think," said Cadoudal, laughing, 
" that it would be just as well to give him the choice 1 " 

" Yes," said Roland. 

" Very well then, Colonel, have the goodness to get 
upon your horse and make yourself known to the general, 
and present my proposition to him." 

" Very well," said Roland. 

" The colonel's horse," said Cadoudal, making a sign to 
the Chouan who had charge of it. 

They brought Roland's horse to him. The young man 
quickly mounted, and rapidly crossed the space which 



78 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



separated him from the motionless convoy. A group had 
formed in the rear of the procession ; it was evidently 
composed of General Hatry and his officers. Roland 
directed his course towards this group. 

General Hatry's astonishment was great when he saw a 
man coming towards him in. the uniform of a Republican 
colonel. He left the group, and advanced towards the 
messenger. Roland made himself known, related how he 
came to be in the ranks of the Whites, and delivered 
General CadoudaPs proposal to General Hatry. As the 
young man had expected, the latter refused. 

Roland rode proudly and joyously back to Cadoudal. 
" He refuses ! " he cried, as soon as he was near enough to 
be heard. 

Cadoudal bowed his head, in token that he w r as not sur- 
prised. " In that case," he said, " carry my second pro- 
posal to him. I wish to have nothing to reproach myself 
with, since I have to answer to a judge of honor like 
yourself." 

Roland bowed. "What is the second proposal 1 ? " he said. 

" It is this : General Hatry will come to me in the 
vacant space between the two troops ; we w 7 ill be armed 
alike, with a sword and two pistols, and the question will 
be decided between us two. If I kill him, his men will 
submit to the conditions that I have already made, for 
being prisoners they cannot do otherwise ; if he kills me, 
his men may pass freely, and gain Yannes unmolested. I 
hope that is a proposition of which you approve, Colonel'? " 

"Yes, I accept it," said Roland. 

"Ah," said Cadoudal, "but you are not General Hatry; 
content yourself, therefore, with being his ambassador; 
and if this proposal, which if I were in his place I would 
certainly accept, does not suit him f — well, I am a good 
prince ! come back again, and I will make him a third." 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 79 



Roland started a second time towards the Republicans, 
by whom he was impatiently expected. He gave his 
message to General Hatry. 

" Citizen," replied the general, " I am answerable for 
my conduct to the First Consul ; you are his aide-de-camp, 
and I charge you, on your return to Paris, to tell him what 
has happened. What would you do in my place % What- 
ever you say, I will do." 

Roland trembled, and his face took the grave expression 
of a man who debates with himself a question of honor. 
Then after some moments he said, — 

(i General, I would refuse." 

" And for what reason 1 " asked the general. 

" A duel is largely a matter of chance ; and you cannot 
submit the destinies of a hundred men to such a chance. 
In an affair like this, where each one is engaged on his 
own account, each one should have the opportunity to de- 
fend his own skin as best he can." 

" Is that your opinion, Colonel 1 " 

" On my honor." 

"It is mine also ; take my reply to the royalist 
general." 

Roland returned to Cadoudal at a gallop, and delivered 
General Hatry's reply. 

Cadoudal smiled. "I suspected as much," he said. 

"You could not have suspected it, since it was by my 
advice that he gave this reply." 

" You thought differently, however, just now." 

" Yes, but as you yourself observed, I am not General 
Hatry. Let me hear your third proposal," continued 
Roland, impatiently ; for he began to see, or rather he 
had seen for some time, that the royalist general had the 
best of it. 

" My third proposal," said Cadoudal, " is not a pro- 



so 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



posal, but an order, — the order that I shall give to two 
hundred of my men to withdraw. General Hatry has a 
hundred men, and I will keep a hundred ; my Breton 
veterans are accustomed to fighting foot to foot, breast to 
breast, man to man, and oftener one against three than 
three against one. If General Hatry conquers, he can 
peacefully enter Vannes over our dead bodies ; if he is 
conquered, he cannot say that it was because he was out- 
numbered. Go, Monsieur de Montrevel, and remain with 
your friends; I thereby give them the advantage of 
numbers, for you alone are worth ten men." 
Roland lifted his hat. 

"What are you doing, sir?" asked Cadoudal. 

" I am in the habit of saluting everything that appears 
to me to be grand, sir, and I salute you ! " 

" Come, Colonel," said Cadoudal, " a last glass of wine ! 
We will each of us drink to what he loves, what he is 
sorry to leave on earth, and what he hopes to meet again 
in heaven." Then taking the bottle and the one glass, he 
half filled it and presented it to Roland. " We have only 
one glass, Monsieur de Montrevel; drink first." 

"Why first?" 

"Because, in the first place you are my guest; and 
again, because there is a proverb which says that who- 
ever drinks after another knows his thought." And he 
added laughingly, "I want to know your thought, Mon- 
sieur de Montrevel." 

Roland emptied the glass, and returned it quickly to 
Cadoudal. 

Cadoudal poured out half a glassful for himself, and 
drank it. 

" Well, now," said Roland, "do you know my thought 1 " 
" No," replied the other ; " the proverb is false." 
"Well," said Roland, with his customary frankness, 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 8] 



" my thought is that you are a brave man, and that I shall 
feel honored if, before we go into battle, you will shake 
hands with me." 

The two young men clasped hands, more like two friends 
who are parting for a long absence than as two enemies 
who are about to meet again upon the field of battle. 
There was a simple yet majestic grandeur in the scene. 
Each one raised his hat. 

" Good luck to you," said Eoland to Cadoudal ; " but 
permit me to say that I doubt if my wish will be realized. 
It must be confessed that I made it with my lips and not 
with my heart." 

"May God preserve you, sir," said Cadoudal; "and I 
can truthfully say that I hope my wish will be realized, 
for it is the expression of my heart." 

" What will be the signal which will announce that you 
are ready 1 " asked Roland. 

" A gun fired into the air, to which you will reply by a 
gun from your side." 

"Very well, General," replied Eoland. And putting 
spurs to his horse, he crossed for the third time the space 
which separated the Eoyalists from the Eepublicans. 

Pointing towards Eoland, Cadoudal said : " My friends, 
do you see that young man 1 " 

All eyes were turned towards Eoland, and all mouths 
murmured, " Yes." 

" Well, he has been recommended to us by our brothers 
in the South. His life must be sacred ; you may take 
him alive, but not a hair of his head must be harmed." 

" Very well, General," replied the Chouans. 

" And now, my friends, remember that you are the sons 
of the thirty "Bretons who fought thirty English between 
Ploermel and Josselin, ten leagues from here, and con- 
quered them." Then with a sigh, and in a lower tone, he 

VOL. II — 6 



82 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



added : " Unfortunately, our enemies are not Englishmen 
this time." 

The fog had entirely disappeared, and, as often happens 
in such cases, a few rays of wintry sunlight were tinging 
the plain of Plescop. All the movements made by the 
two troops could therefore easily be distinguished. While 
Roland turned towards the Republicans, Branche-d'Or set 
off at a gallop in the direction of the two hundred men 
who were opposing their passage. Scarcely had Blanche- 
d'Or spoken to Cadoudal's four lieutenants when a hun- 
dred men drew off and wheeled to the right, and a 
hundred others wheeled to the left. The two troops went 
aw r ay, each in its own direction, — one division marching 
towards Plumergat, and the other towards St.-Ave, thus 
leaving the road clear. They halted at a quarter of a 
league from the road, and grounding their muskets re- 
mained motionless. 

Branche-d'Or returned to Cadoudal. " Have you any 
special orders to give me, General % " he asked. 

" Only one," replied Cadoudal. "Take eight men, and 
follow me ; when the young Republican w r ith whom \ 
breakfasted falls from his horse, throw yourselves upon 
him, you and your eight men, before he has time to 
escape, and take him prisoner." 

"Yes, General." 

"Remember that I must have him safe and sound." 
" Very well, General." 

" Choose your eight men ; when he has been taken 
prisoner, and has given his parole, you can do as you think 
best." 

" And if he will not give his parole 1 " 
" You will secure him so that he cannot escape, and 
keep him until the fight is over." 

" Very well," said Branche-d'Or ; " but it will be rather 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 83 



dull to stand with folded arms while the others are en- 
joying themselves." ' 
" Bah ! who knows 1 " said Cadoudal ; " there will pro- 
bably be enough for every one to do." Then looking 
around the plain, and seeing his men drawn off to one 
side, while the Republicans were massed for battle, he said : 
" A gun ! " 

One was brought to him. Cadoudal raised it above his 
head, and fired. Almost at the same instant a report was 
heard from the midst of the Republicans, answering that 
of Cadoudal like an echo. Two drums were heard beat- 
ing to charge, and a trumpet accompanied the sound. 

Cadoudal stood up in his stirrups. "My boys," he 
asked, "has every one of you said his prayers this 
morning'? " 

" Yes ! yes ! " was the reply. 

" If any of you have forgotten it, or have not had time, 
let them do it now." 

Five or six peasants immediately fell upon their knees 
and began to pray. The drums and the trumpet came 
nearer. 

" General ! General ! " said several voices, impatiently ; 
" they are coming ! " 

The general pointed to the kneeling peasants. 

" That is true," said the impatient ones. 

Those who had been praying rose one by one, according 
to the length of their prayer. When the last one was on 
his feet, the Republicans had traversed a third of the 
distance. They marched with levelled bayonets, in three 
rows, each row being three men deep. Roland marched 
at the head of the first row ; General Hatry was between 
the first and second. They were easily recognized, being 
the only two on horseback. 

Among the Chouans, Cadoudal alone was mounted. 



84 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Branche-d'Or had dismounted in order to take command 
of his eight men. 

" General," said a voice, " all the prayers are finished, 
and the men are on their feet." 

Cadoudal assured himself of the truth of the words, 
Then in a loud voice he cried: "Amuse yourselves, my 
fine fellows ! " 

This permission, which for the Chouans and Yendeeans 
was equivalent to an order to charge, was no sooner given 
than the Chouans ran out into the plain, crying " Vive le 
roi ! " and waving their hats in one hand and their guns 
in the other. But instead of keeping close ranks like the 
Republicans, they s|Dread out like skirmishers, taking the 
form of an immense cross, of which Cadoudal and his 
horse were the centre. In an instant they had overspread 
the Republicans, and the musketry began to rattle. 

Almost all Cadoudal's men were poachers, and therefore 
excellent marksmen with their double-barrelled guns. Al- 
though those who shot first were almost out of range, yet 
several messengers of death penetrated the Republican 
ranks, and three or four men fell. 

" Forward ! " cried General Hatry. 

The soldiers continued to march with lowered bayonets. 
But in a few moments there was no one in front of them. 
Cadoudal's hundred men had become sharp-shooters, and 
had disappeared in a body. Fifty men were scattered 
about on each side. General Hatry ordered his men to 
face right and left. Then the command was given : 
" Fire ! " Two volleys were fired with the precision and 
regularity of a perfectly drilled regiment, but they were 
almost without result, for the Republicans were firing 
upon isolated men. It was different with the Chouans, 
who were firing upon a solid mass ; every shot told. 

Roland saw the disadvantage of the position. He looked 



" Cadondal put spurs to his horse and leaped over 
horse and rider" 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 85 

about him, and saw Cadoudal in the mfdst of the smoke, 
upright and motionless as an equestrian statue. He knew 
that the royalist chief was waiting for him. With a cry, 
he spurred straight towards him. 

In his turn, as if to spare him a part of the journey, 
Cadoudal put his horse to a gallop. But when he was a 
hundred feet away from Eoland he stopped. 

" Attention ! " said he to Branche-d'Or and his men. 

" All ready ! " replied Branche-d'Or. 

Cadoudal drew a pistol from his holster and loaded it. 
Roland had taken his sword in his hand, and charged, 
leaning over his horse's neck. When he was not more than 
twenty paces from him, Cadoudal slowly raised his hand 
in Roland's direction. At ten paces he fired. The horse 
which Roland rode had a white star in the middle of his 
forehead. The ball struck the centre of the star. The 
horse, mortally wounded, rolled over with his rider, at 
Cadoudal's feet. Cadoudal put spurs to his own horse, 
and leaped over both horse and rider. 

Branche-d'Or and his men were ready, and bounded 
like jaguars upon Roland, who was entangled beneath his 
horse's body. The young man let go of his sword and 
tried to seize his pistols ; but before he could put his 
hand upon them, two men had taken them both away, 
while four others pulled the horse away from him. The 
thing was done with such concert of action that it was 
easy to see it was a manoeuvre which had been planned 
in advance. 

Roland reddened with anger. Branche-d'Or approached 
him, and put his hat in his hand. 

" I do not give myself up ! " cried Roland. 

" It would be useless for you to do so, Monsieur de 
Montrevel," replied Branche-d'Or, with the greatest 
politeness. 



86 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" "Why ? " asked Roland, exhausting his strength in a 
struggle which was as ineffectual as it was useless. 

"Because you are already taken, Monsieur." 

The fact was so self-evident that there was no need to 
reply. 

" Well, then, kill me!" cried Eoland. 

" We do not want to kill you, " replied Branch e-d'Or. 

" Then what do you want 1 " 

" We want you to give your word of honor to take no 
further part in this fight. If you will do that, we will 
loose you, and you will be free." 

" Never ! " exclaimed Eoland. 

"Excuse me, Monsieur de Montrevel," said Branche- 
d'Or, "but what you are doing is not loyal." 

" What ! " cried Roland, beside himself with rage, " not 
loyal? You insult me, you wretch, because you know 
that I can neither defend myself nor punish you." 

" I am not a wretch, and I do not insult you, sir ; but 
I do say that in refusing to give your parole you deprive 
the general of the help of nine men who might be useful 
to him, but who are forced to remain here to guard you. 
The great Bound-head over yonder did not do so ; he had 
two hundred men more than you, and he sent them away ; 
now we are only ninety-one against a hundred." 

Roland's face flamed, and then became as pale as death. 
" You are right, Branche-d'Or," he said. " I give myself 
up unconditionally; you may go and fight with your 
companions." 

The Chouans uttered a cry of joy, loosed their hold of 
Eoland, and hastened towards the Eepublicans, waving 
their hats and guns, and crying : " Vive le roi ! " 

Eoland, freed from their restraint, but disarmed mate- 
rially by his fall and morally by his parole, went and sat 
down upon the little mound which was still covered with 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 87 

the cloak which had served for a table-cloth. From there 
he watched the fight without losing a single detail. 
Cadoudal was upright upon his horse, in the midst of the 
fire and smoke, like the invulnerable demon of war. 
Here and there might be seen the bodies of a dozen or 
more Chouans lying upon the ground. But it was evi- 
dent that the Republicans, always keeping close ranks, 
had already lost double that number. Wounded men had 
dragged themselves into the vacant spaces, and joining 
each other, had raised themselves like bruised serpents, 
and were fighting, — the Republicans with their bayonets, 
and the Chouans with their knives. Those of the wounded 
Chouans who were too far away to fight face to face with 
those who were wounded like themselves, loaded their 
guns, rose to their knees, fired, and fell back again. On 
both sides the fight was pitiless, incessant, and bloody ; it 
was as if civil war, a war without mercy or pity, was 
shaking its torch above the battlefield. 

Cadoudal was riding around the living redoubt, and 
firing at twenty paces, — now with his pistols, now with 
a double-barrelled gun which he threw down after he had 
discharged it, only to take it up again ready loaded the 
next time he passed. At each one of his shots a man 
fell. The third time he repeated this manoeuvre a running 
fire greeted him ; General Hatry did the honors for him 
alone. He disappeared in the flame and smoke, and 
Roland saw him and his horse sink down as if they had 
both been struck by a thunderbolt. Ten or twelve Repub- 
licans darted out of the ranks, against as many Chouans. 
It was a terrible struggle, man to man, in which the 
Chouans, with their knives, could not fail to have the 
advantage. 

Suddenly Cadoudal found himself standing up, with a 
pistol in each hand ; the next moment he fired, and two 



88 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



men fell dead. Then into the breach made by these ten 
or a dozen men he threw himself with thirty. He had 
picked up a gun which he used as a club, and at every blow 
a man went down. He fought his way through the bat- 
talion and reappeared upon the other side. Then, like a 
wild boar who turns upon a wounded hunter and tears 
out his entrails, he returned to the yawning wound, mak- 
ing it larger as he went. From that moment all was 
over. 

General Hatry rallied around him a few men, and with 
levelled bayonets rushed upon the circle that surrounded 
Cadoudal, -who marched on foot at the head of his soldiers, 
for his horse had been killed. Ten men fell before the 
circle was broken. General Hatry found himself on the 
outer edge of it. The Chouans were about to pursue him, 
but Cadoudal called out in a voice of thunder, — 

" You ought not to have let him pass ; but since he has 
done so, let him go free." 

The Chouans obeyed, with the reverence which they 
always felt for their chief's commands. 

" And now," cried Cadoudal, " let the firing cease ; no 
more dead, — take the rest prisoners." 

The Chouans gathered themselves together, and sur- 
rounded the heap of corpses, among which a few wounded 
men were struggling. In this war, both parties shot their 
prisoners, — on the one side, because they looked upon 
Chouans and Vendeeans as brigands ; and on the other, 
because they did not know what else to do with their 
prisoners. The Republicans threw their guns away, in 
order not to give them up. When they were approached, 
their cartridge-boxes were all open ; they had used their 
last cartridge. 

Cadoudal made his way towards Roland. During the 
whole of the fight the young man had remained seated, 



THE DIPLOMACY OF GEORGES CADOUDAL. 89 



with his eyes fixed on the scene before him, his hair wet 
with perspiration and his bosom heaving. When he had 
seen how it was going, he had let his head fail into his 
hands, and had sat with his forehead bent towards the 
ground. Cadoudal approached him, but he did not hear 
the sound of his steps. The general touched the young 
man's shoulder. 

Roland slowly raised his head without attempting to 
conceal two tears which rolled down over his cheeks. 
" General," he said, "dispose of me ; I am your prisoner." 

" One does not make prisoner an ambassador of the 
First Consul," replied Cadoudal, laughing; "but one begs 
him to grant a favor." 

" Command me, General." 

" I have no ambulance for the wounded, and no prison 
for the prisoners ; I want you to take to Vannes the Re- 
publican soldiers who are wounded or prisoners." 

" What ! " cried Roland. 

" I give them, or rather intrust them, to you. I regret 
that your horse is killed, and I am sorry that mine is dead 
also ; but Branche-d'Or has one, if you will accept it." 

The young man made a movement. 

" Until you can get another, that is," continued Cadou- 
dal, bowing. 

Roland understood that there was nothing left for him 
but to imitate the other's simplicity. " Shall I see you 
again, General?" he asked as he rose. 

" It is very doubtful, Monsieur ; my operations call 
me towards Port-Louis, and your duty calls you to the 
Luxembourg." 

" What shall I say to the First Consul, General 1 " 

" Tell him what you have seen; he can judge between 
the Abbe Bernier's diplomacy and that of Georges 
Cadoudal." 



90 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" After what I have seen, I doubt if you have any need 
of me," said Roland; "but, at all events, remember that 
you have a friend near the First Consul." And he held 
out his hand to Cadoudal. 

The royalist chief took it with the same frankness as 
before the fight. "Adieu, Monsieur de Mon travel," he 
said. " I need hardly tell you to speak a good word for 
General Hatry ; such a defeat is as glorious as a victory." 

In the mean time they had brought Branche-d'Or's 
horse to the Republican colonel. He leaped into the 
saddle. 

" By the way," said Cadoudal, " as you pass Roche- 
Bernard, find out what has become of Thomas Milliere." 
" He is dead," replied a voice. 

Cceur-de-Roi and his four men, covered with mud and 
perspiration, had just come up, but too late to take part 
in the battle. 

Roland cast a last look around the battlefield, uttered a 
sigh, and waving an adieu to Cadoudal, set off at a gallop 
across country, to await on the road to Vannes the cart 
of wounded men and prisoners which he was charged to 
deliver to General Hatry. Cadoudal had given six livres 
to each man. Roland could not help thinking that it was 
with the money belonging to the Directory, and taken into 
the West by Morgan and his companions, that the royalist 
chief was dispensing his liberality. 



A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. 



91 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. 

Roland's first visit when he arrived in Paris was for the 
First Consul. He brought him the double news of the 
peace of la Vendee and of the renewed insurrection of 
Bretagne. 

Bonaparte knew Roland, and therefore the account of 
the assassination of Thomas Milliere, the trial of Bishop 
Audrein, and the battle of Grandchamp produced upon him 
a deep impression. There was besides in the young man's 
story a kind of gloomy despair which was not to be 
mistaken. 

Roland was in despair at having missed this new occa- 
sion for being killed. It seemed to him that an Unknown 
Power watched over him, to bring him safe and sound out 
of danger where many men lost their lives. Where Sir 
John had found twelve judges and a death-sentence, he 
had met with nothing but a ghost, — invulnerable, it is 
true, but inoffensive. He blamed himself bitterly for 
having sought out Georges Cadoudal in single combat, 
which the other had expected, instead of throwing him- 
self into the general fight, where at least he could have 
killed or been killed. 

The First Consul looked at him uneasily while he spoke. 
He saw that there still existed in his heart that desire for 
death which he had believed would be cured by contact 
with his native land and by the embraces of his family. 



92 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Roland endeavored to prove General Hatry innocent 
and praiseworthy, and as a just and impartial soldier he 
give Cadoudal credit for the courage and generosity which 
the royalist general deserved. 

Bonaparte listened gravely, almost sadly ; although he 
was eager for a war full of glory in a foreign land, he de- 
tested civil war, in which the country shed its own blood 
and tore its own entrails. It seemed to him that in such 
a case negotiations should he substituted for war. But 
how was it possible to negotiate with a man like Cadou- 
dal ? Bonaparte was not ignorant of the personal fascina- 
tion which he possessed when he cared to exercise it. He 
resolved to see Cadoudal, and without saying anything to 
Roland about it, counted upoD his help for the interview 
when the hour should be ripe for it. In the mean time 
he would wait and see if Brune, in whose military talents 
he had great confidence, would be more fortunate than his 
predecessors. He dismissed Roland, after having an- 
nounced his mother's arrival and her installation in the 
little house in the Rue de la Victoire. 

Roland leaped into a carriage and was at once driven 
there. He found Mine, de Montrevel as happy and 
proud as a woman and a mother could be. Edward had 
become a member on the previous day of the French 
Prytaneum. Mine, de Montrevel was now ready to 
leave Paris and return to Amelie, whose health continued 
to give her some uneasiness. As for Sir John, he was not 
only out of danger, but he was almost well ; he was in 
Paris, and had been to call upon Mme. de Montrevel ; she 
had been out, and he had left his card. His address was 
on this card. He was at the Hotel Mirabeau, on the Rue 
de Richelieu. It was eleven o'clock in the morning. That 
was the hour when Sir John usually breakfasted, and 
Roland was almost certain to find him at this time. He 



A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. 



93 



got into his carriage again and gave the order to stop 
at the Hotel Mirabeau. 

Roland found Sir John seated before a table upon which 
was a breakfast after the English fashion, a very rare thing 
at that time. He was drinking great cups of tea and 
eating underdone cutlets. When he perceived Roland, 
Sir John uttered a cry of joy, and rising, hastened towards 
him. 

Roland had conceived a deep affection for this excep- 
tional nature, in which the qualities of the heart seemed 
endeavoring to conceal themselves under national eccen- 
tricities. Sir John was pale and thin, but he seemed to 
feel very well. His wound was completely healed, and 
aside from a difficulty in breathing, which was growing 
less every day and which would finally disappear, he had 
recovered his ordinary health. 

On his part Sir John received Roland with a tenderness 
which would hardly have been expected from his nature, 
and declared that the joy of seeing him had restored his 
health completely. And in the first place he asked Roland 
to share his meal, promising to have it served in the 
French style. 

Roland accepted ; but like all soldiers who have been 
through wars where bread was often lacking, he cared little 
about his food, and he had acquired a habit of eating all 
styles of cooking, in preparation for the time when he 
might have no cooking at all. Sir John's promise, there- 
fore, to have the breakfast served in the French style was 
an attention which was scarcely appreciated. But what was 
not lost upon Roland was Sir John's pre-occupation. It 
was evident that his friend had at his tongue's end a secret 
which he hesitated to reveal. Roland endeavored to come 
to his aid. Therefore, when the breakfast was almost 
ended, with that frankness which amounted almost to bru- 



94 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



tality with him, he said, leaning his elbows upon the 
table and putting his chin between his hands, — 

" Well, my dear Sir John, so you have something to 
say to your friend Koland which you do not dare to tell 
him?"" 

Sir John trembled, and from being very pale became 
purple. 

"Why," continued Roland, "it seems to be very dif- 
ficult for you. If you have anything to ask of me, Sir 
John, I know very little that I could refuse you. Speak, 
therefore, for I am listening to you." 

Roland shut his eyes as if to concentrate all his atten- 
tion on what Sir John was about to tell him. But this 
seemed to be from Lord Tanlay's point of view a very 
difficult thing to say. At the end of five minutes, seeing 
that Sir John remained mute, Roland opened his eyes 
again. Sir John had become pale again, but his pallor 
was greater than it had been before he had blushed, 
Roland held out his hand to him. 

"Come," he said, " I see that you want to complain to 
me of the manner in which you were treated at the Chateau 
of Noires-Fontaines." 

" Exactly, my friend ; for from my stay in that chateau 
will date the happiness or the misery of my life." 

Roland looked at Sir John fixedly. "Ah," he said, 
"can I be happy enough — " And he stopped, under- 
standing that from the ordinary point of view in society 
he was about to commit an indiscretion. 

" Oh," said Sir John, " finish, ray dear Roland ! " 

" Shall 1 1 " 

" I beg of you ! " 

"And if I am mistaken, — if I am about to say some- 
thing foolish 1 " 

" My friend, my friend ! finish ! " 



A MARRIAGE PEOPOSAL. 



95 



" Well, I was about to say, my lord, can I be happy 
enough to believe that your highness does my sister the 
honor of being in love with her 1 " 

Sir John uttered a cry of joy, and with a rapid move- 
ment, of which one would have thought him incapable, he 
threw hitDself into Roland's arms. 

" Your sister is an angel, my dear Roland," he cried ; 
"and I love her with all my heart." 

" You are completely free, my lord ? " 

" Completely. For the last twelve years, as I told you, 
I have had command of my fortune, and that fortune 
amounts to twenty-five thousand pounds sterling a year." 

" That is a great deal too much, my friend, for a girl 
who can bring to you only fifty thousand francs." 

" Ah," said the Englishman, with that national accent 
which came to him often in moments of great emotion, 
" if it is a question of getting rid of my fortune, I can 
easily do that." 

" No," said Roland, laughing, " that is useless. You 
are unfortunately rich, but there is nothing to be done 
about it. No, that is not the question. Do you love my 
sister ] " 

"Oh, I adore her!" 

" And does my sister love you 1 " asked Roland. 

" You must understand," replied Sir John, " that I 
have not asked her. It was right for me, before everything 
else, my dear Roland, to speak to you ; and if the thing 
pleased you, to beg you to plead my cause with your 
mother. Then when I had attained the consent of both 
of you, I should declare myself, — or rather, my dear Ro- 
land, you would make the declaration for me, for I should 
never dare to do it." 

" Then I have received your first confidence 1 " 

" You are my best friend ; and it is only right." 



90 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Well, my friend, so far as I am concerned, your suit 
is of course won." 

" There remain your mother and your sister." 

" They are like one, you understand. My mother will 
leave Amelie entirely free to make her own choice, and I 
do not need to tell you that if this choice should fall upon 
you my mother would be perfectly happy. But there is 
some one else whom you have forgotten." 

" Who 1 " asked Sir John, like a man who has for a long 
time pondered upon the contrary and favorable chances of 
a project, who believes that he has passed them all in re- 
view, and who suddenly finds a new obstacle which he 
had not expected. 

" The First Consul," said Koland. 

"God !" exclaimed the Englishman, swallowing 

half of the national oath. 

"Before my departure for la Vendue," continued Ko- 
land, "he spoke to mo of my sister's marriage, saying 
that it was no longer our concern, my mother's and mine, 
but his own." 

"Then," said Sir John, " I am lost." 

"Why?" 

" Because the First Consul does not like the English." 
" Say, rather, that the English do not like the First 
Consul." 

" Who will speak of my wish to him 1 " 

c< J »> 

" And you will speak of it as of something agreeable to 
you?" 

" I will be like a dove of peace between two nations," 
said Roland, rising. 

" Oh, thanks ! " cried Sir John, seizing the young man's 
hand. Then regretfully he added: "You are going 
now 1 " 



A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. 



97 



" My dear friend, I have leave only for a few hours. I 
have given one to my mother, and two to you, and I owe 
one to your friend Edward. I am going to see him, and 
recommend his masters to allow him to knock about at 
his ease with his comrades : then I shall return to the 
Luxembourg." 

" Wei], give him my compliments, and tell him that I 
have ordered a pair of pistols for him, so that he will have 
no further need, when he is attacked by bandits, of using 
the conductor's pistols." 

Eoland looked at Sir John. "What is that?" he 
asked. 

" What S do you not know 1 " 
" No ; what is it that I do not know? " 
" Something which has almost made our poor Amelie 
die of fright." 
" What is it 1 " 

" The attack upon the diligence." 
" What diligence?" 

" The one in which your mother was travelling." 

" The diligence in which my mother was travelling ? " 

" Yes." 

" The diligence in which my mother was travelling was 
stopped ? " 

" You saw Mme. de Montrevel, and she told you 
nothing about it ? " 
"Not a word of it." 

" Well, my dear Edward has been a hero. As nobody 
else resisted, he did it himself. He took the conductor's 
pistols and fired." 

" Brave child ! " cried Roland. 

" Yes ; but unfortunately, or fortunately, the conductor 
had had the precaution to take the bullets out of them. 
Edward was caressed by the companions of Jehu as being 

VOL. II. — 7 



98 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the bravest of the brave, but he neither killed nor wounded 
any one." 

" And you are sure of what you are telling mel" 
" I repeat that your sister almost died of fright about 
it." 

" It is well," said Roland. 
" What is well ?" asked Sir John. 
"It is only one reason the more why I should see 
Edward." 

" What is it now 1 " 
"A plan." 

" You will share it with me 1 " 

" No, indeed ! my projects do not turn out very well 
for you." 

" But you understand, my dear Roland, that if there 
was a risk to be taken — " 

" I would take it for both of us. You are in love, my 
dear lord ; live in your love ! " 

" And you promise me your support 1 " 

" Most certainly. I have the greatest desire to call you 
my brother." 

"Are you weary of calling me your friend ?" 

" Yes, that is too weak a word." 

They shook hands and parted. A quarter of an hour 
afterwards Roland was at the French Prytaneum. It was 
situated where the Lyceum of Louis le Grand is situated 
to-day, towards the end of the Rue St. -Jacques, behind 
the Sorbonne. At the first word which the director of 
the establishment said to him, Roland saw that his young 
brother had been particularly recommended. They sent 
for the boy. 

Edward threw himself into his elder brothers arms 
with that adoration which he had always felt for him. 
Roland, after the first greetings, turned the conversation 



A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. 



90 



towards the stopping of the diligence. Mine, de Mon- 
trevel had said nothing of it, and Lord Tanlay had been 
sober in his details ; but it was not thus with Edward. 
This stopping of the diligence was his Iliad. He related 
the affair to Eoland down to the last detail, — Jerome's 
connivance with the bandits: the pistols loaded with 
powder only ; his mother's fainting-fit, and the assistance 
which was lavished upon her during this faint by the very 
ones who had caused it ; his baptismal name unknown to 
the thieves ; and finally the mask which had for a moment 
fallen from the face of the one who had assisted Mme. 
de Montrevel, so that she had been able to see his 
countenance. 

Eoland dwelt particularly upon this last detail. Then 
the child related his audience with the First Consul, and 
told how the latter had embraced him, caressed him, 
petted him, and finally recommended him to the director 
of the French Prytaneum. 

Eoland learned from the child all that he wanted to 
know ; and as it was only five minutes' walk from the Rue 
St.-Jacques to the Luxembourg, he soon reached the 
latter place. 



100 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER IX. 

SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 

When Roland re-entered the Luxembourg, the palace 
clock marked the hour of quarter-past one in the after- 
noon. The First Consul was at work with Bourrienne. 

If we were telling a simple romance, we should hasten 
to the end ; and in order to reach it the sooner we should 
neglect certain details which can assuredly be allowed to 
grand historical figures. That is not our way. From the 
moment when we first took up our pen, now thirty years 
ago, whether we were engaged upon a drama or a romance, 
we had a double end in view, — to instruct as well as to 
amuse; and we intentionally say "instruct" first, for 
amusement with us is only a mask for instruction. Have 
w r e succeeded % We think so. We shall soon have cov- 
ered an immense period with our stories : between the 
" Countess of Salisbury " and the u Count of Monte Cristo " 
lie five centuries and a half ; and we are bold enough to 
think that concerning those five centuries and a half we 
have taught France more history than any historian. And 
more: although our political opinions are well known; 
and although under the Bourbons of the elder as well as 
of the younger branch, under the republic as under the 
actual government, we have been at no pains to conceal 
them, — yet we do not think we have ever intruded these 
opinions offensively, either in our dramas or in our books. 
We admire the Marquis of Posa in Schiller's " Don Carlos ; " 
but in Schiller's place we would not have anticipated the 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



101 



spirit of the times to such an extent as to place a philo- 
sopher of the eighteenth century among heroes of the six- 
teenth, an encyclopaedist at the court of Philippe II. 
Thus even as we were, literally speaking, a monarchist un- 
der the monarchy and a republican under the republic, so 
we are to-day a reconstructionist under the consulate. But 
this does not prevent our thoughts from taking a higher 
plane than men or epochs, or deter us from giving each 
one his part in good as in evil. 

Now, no one, with the exception of God, has a right to 
judge a man by himself alone. Those Egyptian kings 
who up to the moment when they were about to enter the 
unknown were judged up to the threshold of their tomb, 
were judged not by a man, but by a people. That is the 
meaning of the saying, " The judgment of a people is the 
judgment of God." Historian, romancist, poet, and drama- 
tic author though we are, we are nothing more than one 
of those judges in a trial by jury who impartially sum up 
the arguments and leave the decision to the jury. The 
book is the summing up, and the readers are the jury. 
And this is why, when we are painting one of the most 
gigantic figures, not of the modern world but of all time, 
and painting it moreover at a moment of transition, when 
Bonaparte was becoming Napoleon, and the general was 
merging into the emperor, — that is why, we say, we, fear- 
ing to be thought unjust, abandon estimates and substitute 
facts. 

We are not of the opinion of Voltaire, who says, " No 
man is a hero to his valet de chambre." It may be that 
the valet is near-sighted or envious, — two infirmities 
which resemble each other more nearly than people gen- 
erally suppose. We, for our part, maintain that a hero 
may become a good man ; but that a good man, in order 
to be a good man, is not the less a hero. What is a hero, 



102 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



in public estimation 1 A man whose genius momentarily 
gets the better of his heart. What is a hero, in private 
life 1 A man whose heart overpowers his genius. Histo- 
rians judge the genius ; people judge the heart. Who 
judged Charlemagne'? The historians. Who judged 
Henry IV. % The people. Which is the better judge 1 
Well, in order that a judgment may be just, and that the 
court of appeal, which is nothing more nor less than pos- 
terity, may confirm the judgment of contemporaries, it is 
not enough to let the light fall upon one side alone of the 
figure which is to be painted ; one must go all around it, 
and where the sun does not fall, one must bring the torch 
and even the candle. 

Let us return to Bonaparte. He worked, as we have 
said, with Bourrienne. How did the First Consul divide 
his time at the Luxembourg 1 ? He rose from seven to 
eight o'clock in the morning, called one of his secretaries 
at once, — Bourrienne in preference, — and worked with 
him until ten o'clock. At that time breakfast was an- 
nounced. Josephine, Hortense, and Eugene sat down to 
the table with him, as did Bourrienne and the aides-de- 
camp who were in attendance. Afterwards he talked with 
those who had breakfasted with him, and with invited 
guests if there were any; an hour was devoted to this 
conversation, at which appeared usually his two brothers, 
Lucien and Joseph, Regnault de St.-Jean-d'Angely, 
Boulay (de la Meurthe), Monge, Berthollet, Laplace, and 
Arnault. Towards noon Cambaceres arrived. Bonaparte 
usually devoted a half-hour to his chancellor, and then 
suddenly rising he would say, " Au revoir, Josephine ; au 
revoir, Hortense ; Bourrienne, come to work." This re- 
quest was always couched in the same terms and at the 
same hour, and as soon as it was pronounced Bonaparte 
left the salon and went back to his private office. There 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



103 



no method of work was adopted, — all depended upon 
urgency or caprice. Perhaps Bonaparte dictated, or Bour- 
rienne read aloud ; after which the First Consul went to 
the council. ' For the first months he was obliged, in order 
to reach the council, to cross the court of the little Lux- 
embourg ; in rainy weather this put him in a very bad 
humor ; but towards the end of December he had the happy 
idea of covering over the court ; after that, he almost al- 
ways came singing to his cabinet. He sang almost as badly 
as Louis XV. When he was once more at home he 
examined the work which had been done, signed a few 
letters, stretched himself out in an armchair, the arms of 
which he cut with a penknife while he talked ; if he 
was not in the mood for talking, he read over the letters 
which he had received on the previous day, or the current 
pamphlets, laughing at intervals like a great good-natured 
child ; then suddenly, as if awakening from a dream, he 
would stand up, saying, " Write, Bourrienne ! " And then 
he would describe some monument to be erected, or dic- 
tate some one of those immense projects which have aston- 
ished, or rather frightened, the world. At five o'clock 
they dined ; after dinner the First Consul repaired to 
Josephine's apartments, where he received his ministers, 
and particularly the minister of foreign affairs, M. de 
Talleyrand. At midnight, sometimes sooner, but never 
later, he gave the signal for departure, saying abruptly, 
" Let us go to bed." The next morning at seven o'clock 
the same life began again, seldom disturbed by unforeseen 
incidents. 

After these details concerning the personal habits of the 
powerful genius whom we are attempting to show under 
his early aspect, it seems to us his portrait ought to 
follow. 

Bonaparte the First Consul has left even fewer records 



104 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



of his personal appearance than Napoleon the Emperor ; 
and as the Emperor of 1812 was totally unlike the First 
Consul of 1800, we will indicate, if possible, with our pen 
those features which the pencil cannot transcribe, that 
face which neither bronze nor marble can fix. 

Most of the painters and sculptors of this illustrious 
period of art, in which flourished Gros, David, Prud'hon, 
Girodet, and Bosio, have endeavored to preserve for pos- 
terity the features of the man of destiny as he looked at 
different epochs of his life. Thus we have portraits of 
Bonaparte as General-in-Chief, as First Consul, and of 
Napoleon as Emperor ; and although painters and sculp- 
tors have been more or less successful in catching the 
type of his face, it may be sweepingly asserted that there 
does not exist, either of the General, the First Consul, or 
the Emperor, a single portrait or bust which perfectly 
resembles him. This is owing to the fact that it is not 
given even to genius to triumph over impossibilities ; that 
during the first period of his life it was possible to paint 
or sculpture his protuberant head, his forehead with its 
wrinkle furrowed by thought, his pale face, his granite- 
like complexion, and the habitual thoughtfulness of his 
expression ; that later they could paint or sculpture his 
enlarged forehead, his admirably drawn eyebrows, his 
straight nose, his compressed lips, his chin modelled with 
rare perfection, and his whole face like a medal of Augus- 
tus, — but that neither bust nor portrait could preserve 
that which is out of the domain of imitation ; namely, 
his changeful expression, — that expression which is to 
man what the lightning is to God ; namely, the proof of 
his divinity. This expression, with Bonaparte, obeyed his 
will with the rapidity of lightning; in the same mo- 
ment it leaped from beneath his eyelids, now swift and 
piercing as the steel of a dagger drawn violently from its 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



105 



sheath, now gentle as a sunbeam or a caress, and now 
severe as a question or terrible as a menace. Bonaparte 
had a separate glance for each emotion which agitated his 
soul. With Napoleon, this expression, except in the great 
events of his life, ceased to be mobile and became fixed ; 
but although it was fixed, it was impossible to transcribe it ; 
it was like a gimlet, boring into the heart of the one at 
whom he looked, and seeming to penetrate to the pro- 
foundest depths and the most secret thoughts. Marble 
and paint have been able to catch the fixed look, but not 
its life, its penetrating and magnetic action. Troubled 
hearts have veiled eyes. 

Bonaparte, even when he was thinnest, had beautiful 
hands ; he displayed a certain amount of coquetry in the 
way he used them. When he grew stouter, his hands be- 
came superb ; he took particular care of them, and when 
he was talking he would look at them complacently. He 
had the same opinion of his teeth ; they certainly were 
beautiful, but they had not the splendor of his hands. 
When he walked, whether alone or with any one, whether 
in the house or in the garden, he almost always stooped a 
little, as if his head were too heavy to carry; and, with 
his hands crossed behind his back, he frequently made 
an involuntary movement of the right shoulder, as if a 
nervous shiver passed over it, and at the same time his 
mouth made a motion from left to right. But these move- 
ments, whatever may have been said, had nothing con- 
vulsive about them ; they were simply a matter of habit, 
indicating in him a great preoccupation, a sort of con- 
gestion of the mind ; it came more frequently at times 
when the General, the First Consul, or the Emperor was 
musing on vast projects. It was after such walks, ac- 
companied by the double movement of the mouth and 
shoulder, that he dictated his most important notes ; on 



106 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the field, in the army, and on horseback he was indefat- 
igable, and he was almost equally indefatigable in ordinary 
life, when he sometimes walked for five or six hours in 
succession without noticing it. When he was walking 
with some one with whom he was familiar, he was in the 
habit of passing his arm within that of his companion, 
and leaning upon it. Thin and spare as he was at the 
period at which he is introduced to the Teader, yet he 
was already dreading his future obesity ; and it was 
usually Bourrienne to whom he imparted these singular 
confidences. 

" You see, Bourrienne, how temperate and thin I am," 
he would say ; " and yet I am possessed with the idea that 
at forty I shall be a great eater, and that I shall grow 
very stout. I foresee that my constitution will change, 
in spite of the fact that I take plenty of exercise ; it is a 
presentiment, and cannot fail to happen." 

We know how stout the prisoner of St. Helena be- 
came. He had a passion for bathing, which doubtless 
contributed towards making him stout. A bath was to 
him an irresistible necessity ; he took one once in two 
days, and remained in it two hours, during which time he 
had the journals and pamphlets read to him. In the 
mean time he kept increasing the temperature of the room, 
until it became so high that the reader could no longer 
endure it, or even see to read ; then, and then only, would 
he permit the door to be opened. Attacks of epilepsy 
have been spoken of, which he is said to have had during 
the first campaign in Italy ; but Bourrienne, who was with 
him eleven years, never saw one. On the other hand, 
although he was indefatigable by day, he felt at night an 
imperative need of sleep, particularly at the period of 
which we are speaking. Bonaparte, as general or first 
consul, insisted upon vigilance in others; but he slept 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



107 



himself, and slept well. He went to bed at midnight, 
sometimes earlier; and when at seven o'clock in the 
morning they went into his room to wake him, he was 
always sleeping. Usually he rose at the first call, but 
sometimes, half asleep, he would mutter, " Bourrienne, I 
beg of you, let me sleep a moment longer; " and if there 
was nothing important on hand, Bourrienne would leave 
him until eight o'clock ; but if he insisted, Bonaparte, 
still grumbling, would get up. He slept seven, and some- 
times eight hours out of the twenty-four, for he would 
occasionally take a nap in the afternoon. He gave spe- 
cial instructions concerning the night. ' 

" In the night," he said, " you will enter my room as 
little as possible ; never wake me when you have good 
news to communicate, — good news can wait ; but if you 
have bad news, wake me at once, for in that case there is 
not a moment to lose." 

As soon as Bonaparte had risen and made his morning 
toilet, which was always very complete, his valet entered, 
and shaved him and combed his hair. While this was 
being done, a secretary or an aide-de-camp read the 
journals to him, always beginning with the " Moniteur." 
He never paid much attention to any except the English 
and German ones. " Never mind that," lie would say about 
the French journals ; " I know what they say, because 
they never say anything except what I wish." When 
Bonaparte's toilet was made, he left his bedroom and went 
down to his office. We have already seen what he did 
there. As we have said, breakfast was announced at ten 
o'clock. The steward made the announcement in these 
words ; " The General is served," — no other title, not 
even that of first consul. The meal was a frugal one. 
Every morning Bonaparte was served with a dish of which 
lie was very fond ; it was chicken fried in oil, with gar- 



108 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



lie, — tlie same dish which now appears upon the bills 
of fare at restaurants under the name of poulet a la 
Marengo. 

Bonaparte drank little, taking only Bordeaux or Bur- 
gundy wine, and preferably the latter. After both break- 
fast and dinner he took a cup of black coffee, but never 
at his meals. When he worked late at night, he had 
chocolate instead of coffee brought to him, and his secre- 
tary had the same. Most historians, chroniclers, and 
biographers, after saying that Bonaparte drank a great 
deal of coffee, add that he took snuff to an immoderate 
extent. This is a double error. From the age of twenty- 
four Bonaparte had been in the habit of taking snuff, but 
only enough to keep his brain awake. He was accus- 
tomed to take it, not from his waistcoat pocket, as has 
been said, but from a snuff-box which he exchanged almost 
every day for a new one, resembling Frederick the Great 
in his passion for collecting snuff-boxes ; when he did 
take it from his waistcoat pocket, it was on days of battle, 
when he could not very well, while galloping at full 
speed, hold both the bridle of his horse and his snuff-box. 
He had for such occasions waistcoats with the right-hand 
pocket made double of perfumed skin, and as the sloping 
cut of his coat permitted him to insert his thumb and 
index finger into the pocket without opening the coat, he 
could comfortably take a pinch, no matter where he was. 
As general and first consul, he never put on gloves, con- 
tenting himself with holding them and rubbing them 
against his left hand. As emperor, he made a little ad- 
vance, for he put on one ; and as he changed his gloves 
not only every day, but two and three times a day, his 
valet conceived the idea of having only one glove made, 
completing the pair with the one that had not been 
used. 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



109 



Bonaparte had two great passions which Napoleon in- 
herited, — war and monuments. Gay and almost jovial 
while in camp, he became gloomy and thoughtful in re- 
pose ; it was then that to drive away this sadness he had 
recourse to the electricity of art, and dreamed out those 
gigantic monuments of which he began many and fin- 
ished a few. He knew that monuments belong to the 
life of a people ; that they are its history written in cap- 
ital letters ; that a long time after the generations which 
raised them have disappeared from the earth, these beacons 
of the ages remain standing ; that Rome lives in its ruins, 
that Greece speaks in its monuments, and that by its own 
Egypt appears a splendid and mysterious spectre upon the 
threshold of civilizations. But what he liked and craved 
above everything was renown, reputation ; hence his de- 
sire for war, his thirst for glory. Often he said : — 

"A great reputation is like a great noise, — the oftener 
it is made, the farther it is heard. Laws, institutions, 
monuments, and nations, — all fall ; but renown remains, 
and re-echoes through other generations. Babylon and 
Alexandria have fallen ; but Semiramis and Alexander 
remain, grander than ever perhaps by the echo of their 
renown, which has grown greater from age to age than it 
was at first, even." Then, applying these ideas to himself, 
he would continue : " My power depends upon my glory, 
and my glory upon the battles which I have gained ; con- 
quest has made me what I am, and conquest alone can 
continue to make me great. A new-born government is 
obliged to astonish and dazzle; if it does not flame it 
goes out ; the moment it ceases to increase, it falls." 

For a long time Bonaparte was a Corsican, enduring 
impatiently the subjugation of his country ; but after the 
13th Vendemiaire he became a true Frenchman, even 
feeling a passionate love for France : his dream was to 



110 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



see her great, happy, and powerful, at the head of the 
nations in glory and art. It is true that in making France 
great he grew great with it, and that he imperishably at- 
tached his own name to its greatness. For him, living 
always in this thought, the actual moment disappeared in 
the future ; wherever the tempest of war was carried, 
France was always first in his thoughts, above all else. 
" What will the Athenians think of that ? " Alexander 
said after Issus and Arbelles. " I hope the French will be 
pleased with me," said Bonaparte, after Rivoli and the 
Pyramids. Before a battle this modern Alexander thought 
very little about what he should do in case of success, 
but a great deal in case of reverse. He was firmly con- 
vinced that a mere nothing decided the greatest events, 
and he was more occupied in foreseeing these events than 
in provoking them ; he saw them born, and watched 
them grow ; then, when the right moment had come, he 
appeared, put his hand upon them, and subdued and 
guided them as a clever groom subdues and guides a fiery 
horse. His rapid grandeur in the midst of revolutions, 
the political changes which he had prepared or seen ac- 
complished, and the events which he had ruled, had given 
him a certain scorn for men, of whom he had not by 
nature a very high opinion ; and he often repeated this 
maxim, which was all the more heart-breaking from the 
fact that he had recognized the truth of it, — " There are 
two levers by which to move men, — fear and interest." 
With such sentiments, Bonaparte did not and could not 
believe in friendship. " How many times," says Bour- 
rienne, " has he said to me : Friendship is only a word ; 
I love no one, not even my brothers. Perhaps I do love 
Joseph a little ; but if I do it is merely a matter of habit, 
and because he is my elder brother. Yes, I love Duroc ; 
but why ] Because his character pleases me ; because he 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



in 



is cold, dry, and severe ; and then, he never weeps. And 
why should I love any one 1 Do you suppose I have any 
real friends 1 While I continue to be what I am, I shall 
have them, at least in appearance ; but let me cease to be 
fortunate, and you will see. Trees do not bear leaves in 
winter. You know, Bourrienne, we must let the women 
weep, — that is their business ; but no sentimentality for 
me ! I must have a vigorous hand and a firm heart ; 
otherwise I can have nothing to do either with war or 
government." 

In his familiar relations Bonaparte was what is called a 
tease ; but his teasing was exempt from ill-humor, and 
was almost never ill-natured ; his anger, which was always 
easily excited, passed like a cloud driven by the wind, 
died away in words, exhausted itself m its own whirl- 
wind. But if it was a question of public affairs, of some 
fault of one of his lieutenants or ministers, he allowed 
himself to become seriously angry ; his speech was then im- 
pulsive and hard always, humiliating sometimes. He gave 
crushing blows, under which it was necessary, whether 
willing or unwilling, to bow the head ; for example, in 
his scene with Jomini, and with the Duke de Bellune. 

Bonaparte had two kinds of enemies, the Jacobins and 
the Royalists. He detested the former and feared the 
latter. When he spoke of the Jacobins, it was to call 
them the assassins of Louis XVI. ; but the Royalists were 
a different matter. It almost seemed as if he had a pre- 
sentiment of the Restoration. He had about him two 
men who had voted for the death of the king, — Fouche 
and Cambaceres. He dismissed Fouche from his ministry, 
and his only reason for keeping Cambaceres was because 
of the services which the eminent legislator could render 
him ; but he did not like him, and he would often take 
him by the ear, saying, " My poor Cambaceres, I am sorry 



112 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



for you, but it is a clear case ; if ever the Bourbons re- 
turn, you will be hung." One day Cambaceres became 
impatient, and freeing his head by an impatient movement 
from the living pincers which held it, he said, " Come ! 
stop your poor jokes." 

Every time Bonaparte escaped a danger he did as he 
had done in childhood in Corsica, — he made a rapid sign 
of the cross upon his chest with his thumb. When he 
was contradicted, or a prey to disagreeable thought, he 
hummed, — and what? An air of his own, which was 
known to no one else, and which no one could have re- 
cognized in any case because he sung it so out of tune. 
Then, while singing, he would seat himself in his arm- 
chair, rocking himself back and forth until he almost over- 
turned the chair, and, as we have said, mutilating its arm 
with a penknife, — the sole use to which he put that arti- 
cle, since his secretary made all his pens, and made them 
as well as possible, being interested in doing all that he 
could to make his frightful writing a little more legible. 

The effect which the sound of bells produced upon 
Bonaparte is well known ; it was the only music which he 
understood, and which touched his heart. If he was 
seated when the vibrations began, with a sign of the hand 
he would command silence, while he leaned in the direc- 
tion of the sound ; if he was walking, he stopped, bent 
his head, and listened. While the bell sounded he re- 
mained motionless ; when the sound died away in space he 
resumed his work, replying to those who asked for an 
explanation of his singular sympathy with the brazen 
voice by saying, " It recalls the first years that I spent at 
Brienne ; I was happy then." 

At the time of which we are speaking, Bonaparte's great 
interest was the purchase which he had just made of the 
estate of Malmaison ; he went every Saturday evening to 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



113 



this country place, and passed there, like a schoolboy at 
home for the holidays, all day Sunday, and often Monday 
also. There he neglected work for the sake of taking 
long walks ; during these walks he overlooked personally 
the improvements that he was having made. Sometimes, 
and particularly at first, his walks exceeded the limits of 
his estate ; but by the advice of the police these excur- 
sions were modified, and they were finally given up alto- 
gether after the conspiracy of Arena and the affair of the 
infernal machine. The revenue of Malmaison, as calcu* 
lated by Bonaparte himself upon the supposition that he 
sold all his fruits and vegetables, amounted to six thousand 
francs. " That is not bad," he said to Bourrienne ; " but," 
he added with a sigh, " we ought to have thirty thousand 
livres of income besides, to live here." 

Bonaparte mingled a certain amount of poetry with his 
love of the country. He liked to see the tall and graceful 
figure of a lady walking in the dark and gloomy alleys of 
.the park ; but she must be dressed in white; he detested 
deep-colored dresses, and had a horror of fat women. He 
was not gallant by nature, and was too awe-inspiring to 
attract. He was scarcely polite to women, and rarely took 
the trouble to say anything agreeable even to the prettiest 
of them ; often, indeed, they trembled as they listened to 
the things he said to Josephine's best friends. To one 
lady he said, " What red arms you have ! " to another, 
" How unbecomingly your hair is dressed ! " to this one, 
" You have on a dirty dress ; 1 have seen you wear it 
twenty times ! " to that one, " You should change your 
dressmaker ; you have on a badly fitting dress." One day 
he said to the Duchess of Chevreuse, a charming blonde, 
whose hair every one admired, " It is singular how red- 
headed you are ! " The duchess replied, " Possibly, but 
this is the first time any man has told me so." 

VOL. II. — 8 



114 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Bonaparte did not like games, and when he played a 
game of chance it was always at vingt-et-un ; and like 
Henry IV. he cheated ; but when the game was finished 
he would leave all his gold and notes on the table, say- 
ing, " What fools you are ! I have been cheating all the 
time, and you did not see it ! Let those who have lost 
repay themselves there." 

Bonaparte, although born and brought up in the Catholic 
religion, had no preference for any belief. When he re- 
established public worship, it was an act of policy and 
not of religion. But he liked discussions bearing upon 
this subject, although he defined his own position from 
the start, by saying, " My reason leads me to doubt many 
things ; but the impressions of my childhood and the 
inspirations of my early youth make me again uncertain." 
However, he would not hear a word in favor of material- 
ism; little mattered the dogma to him, provided that 
dogma recognized a creator. One beautiful evening in 
June, while his ship lay between the double azure of sea 
and sky, the mathematicians claimed that there was 
no God, but in his place only animated matter. Bona- 
parte looked at the celestial vault, a hundred times more 
brilliant between Malta and Alexandria than it is in 
Europe, and at a moment when they thought he was not 
listening to the conversation, he exclaimed, pointing to the 
stars, " You have talked in vain ; it is God alone who 
has made those." 

Bonaparte, although very exact in paying his personal 
expenses, was infinitely less so in regard to the public 
money. He was convinced that in bargains between the 
ministers and merchants, if the minister who had con- 
cluded the bargain was not a dupe, the State was never- 
theless being robbed; therefore he delayed payment as 
long as possible, and seized upon every pretext and false 



SCULPTURE AND PAINTING. 



115 



reasoning which he could think of. It was a fixed idea 
with him, an invariable principle, that every merchant 
was a rascal. He rarely reversed a decision, even when 
he recognized the injustice of it. No one ever heard him 
say, " I was wrong." On the contrary, his favorite speech 
was, " I always begin by believing the worst of a thing." 
The maxim was more worthy of Timon than of Augustus. 
But in spite of all this, it was impossible not to feel that 
with Bonaparte there was an effort to appear to scorn men 
rather than a real scorn of them. He had neither hatred 
nor vindictiveness ; but he sometimes believed too thor- 
oughly in necessity, that goddess of the fireside. Outside 
the field of politics he was sensible, good, accessible to 
pity, and fond of children, — that sure proof of a gentle 
heart. In private life he had indulgence for human weak- 
nesses, and was good-natured withal, — like Henry IV. 
playing with his children in spite of the arrival of the 
Spanish ambassador. 

If we were writing history we should still have many 
things to say of this man, without counting what we 
could say of Napoleon when we had finished with Bon- 
aparte. But we are writing a simple story, in which 
Bonaparte plays his part; unhappily, when Bonaparte 
shows himself, if only for a few moments, he immediately 
becomes the chief actor in spite of the narrator. May we 
be pardoned then for our digression 1 This man, who was 
a whole world in himself, drew us in spite of ourselves 
into the vortex of his life. 

Let us return to Roland, and consequently to our story. 



116 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE AMBASSADOR. 

We have already seen that when Roland went in he 
asked for the First Consul, and they replied to him that 
the First Consul was at work with the minister of police. 

Roland was well known about the house. No matter 
what official was working with Bonaparte, he was in the 
habit, upon his return from a journey, of opening the 
door of the private office and putting his head in. If the 
First Consul was so busy that he did not pay any atten- 
tion to this, then Roland would pronounce the single word 
''General;" which meant in the intimate language which 
the two schoolmates still continued to use to each other, 
"General, here I am, do you want me? I wait your 
orders." If the First Consul did not need Roland he 
would reply, "Very well:" if, on the contrary, he did 
need him, he would say, " Enter." Roland would then go 
and wait in the embrasure of a window until the general 
told him he wished to see him. 

As usual, Roland now put in his head, saying, 
"General!" 

" Come in," replied the First Consul, with visible satis- 
faction. " Come in, come in ! " 

Roland entered. As they told him, Bonaparte was 
working with the minister of police. The business which 
occupied them, and which seemed to engage the First Con- 
sul's whole attention, had also its interest for Roland. It 
was about the recent stopping of diligences by the com- 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



117 



panions of Jehu. Upon the table were three reports con- 
cerning the stopping of one diligence and two mail- 
coaches. In one of these mail-coaches was the cashier of 
the army of Italy, Triber. 

These stops had taken place, the first one upon the 
high-road from Meximieux to Montluel, on that part of the 
road which crossed the territory of the Commune of Bel- 
ignieux ; the second one at the extremity of the Lake of 
Silans, in the direction of Nantua ; and the third upon 
the high-road from St.-Etienne to Bourg, at the place called 
Carronnieres. A particular fact was attached to each one 
of these detentions. The sum of four thousand francs 
and a box of jewels had by mistake been put with the 
money belonging to the government, and taken from the 
travellers. The latter had thought them lost, when the 
justice of the peace at Nantua received a letter without 
signature, which told him the place where these objects 
had been buried, and begged him to return them to their 
owners, as the companions of Jehu made war upon the 
government, and not upon individuals. At another time, 
in the affair of the Carronnieres, the robbers, in stopping 
a mail-coach which in spite of their orders to halt had re- 
doubled its speed, were obliged to shoot a horse. The 
companions of Jehu had believed that they owed a recom- 
pense to the owner, and the latter received five hundred 
francs in payment for his dead horse. That was exactly 
what the horse had cost a week before, which proved that 
the bandits knew the worth of horses. The reports sent 
by the local authorities were accompanied by declarations 
of the travellers. 

Bonaparte was humming that tuneless song of which 
we have already spoken, — which proved that he was furi- 
ous. As new information might reach him with Roland, 
he had thrice repeated his invitation to come in. 



118 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Well," he said, " your part of the country has cer- 
tainly revolted against me. Here, look ! " 

Roland glanced at the papers and understood. " Yes," 
said he, "I was coming back to speak to you about this, 
General." 

"Then let us talk; but first ask Bourrienne for my 
atlas of the department." 

Eoland asked for the atlas, and guessing what Bona- 
parte wanted, opened it at the Department of Ain. 

" That is right," said Bonaparte. " Now show me 
where these things took place." 

Roland put his finger upon the extremity of the map, 
in the direction of Lyons. " Here, General, here is the 
precise spot of the first attack, — here, opposite the village 
of Bellignieux." 

"And the second?" 

" That took place here," said Roland, carrying his finger 
to the other side of the department, towards Geneva. 
" Here is the Lake of Nantua, and here that of Silans." 

" Now the third." 

Roland brought his finger towards the centre. " Gen- 
eral, here is the precise spot. The Carronnieres are not 
marked upon the map because they are of such trival 
importance." 

"What are the Carronnieres 1 ? " asked the First Consul. 

" General, in our part of the country linen factories are 
called by that name. These belong to citizen Terrier. 
This is the place where they should be upon the map." 
And Roland indicated with the end of his pencil, which 
left its mark upon the paper, the precise spot where the 
detention of the mail-coach must have taken place. 

" What ! " said Bonaparte, " the thing occurred scarcely 
a half league from Bourg ! " 

" Yes, General ; that explains why the wounded horse 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



119 



was taken back to Bourg, and did not die until it reached 
the stables of the Belle-Alliance." 

"Do you understand all these details, sir?" asked Bon- 
aparte, addressing the minister of police. 

"Yes, citizen Consul," replied the other. 

"You know that I wish these things to cease." 

" I will do my best." 

"It is not a question of doing your best ; it is a ques- 
tion of succeeding." 
The minister bowed. 

" It is only upon this condition," continued Bonaparte, 
" that I shall acknowledge that you are the clever man 
you pretend to be." 

" I will help you, citizen," said Eoland. 

" I did not dare to ask your help," said the minister. 

" Yes, but I offer it to you. Do nothing in which we 
do not act together." 

The minister looked at Bonaparte. 

" It is well," said Bonaparte. 

The minister saluted and went out. 

" In truth," continued the First Consul, " it will be to 
your credit to exterminate these bandits, Eoland. In the 
first place the affair was done in your department ; and 
then they appear to have a particular grudge against you 
and your family." 

" On the contrary," said Eoland, " this is what makes 
me angry, — they seem to spare me and my family." 

"Let us see about that, Eoland. Each detail has its 
importance. It is the war with the Bedouins over again." 

" Now, notice this, General. I went to pass a night 
in the monastery of Seillon, having been assured that 
there were ghosts there ; in fact, a ghost did appear to me, 
but it was a perfectly inoffensive one. I shot at him 
twice, but he did not even turn around. My mother was 



120 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



in the diligence that was stopped. She fainted. One of 
the robbers paid her the most delicate attentions ; rubbed 
her temples with vinegar, and held smelling-salts for her 
to breathe. My brother Edward defended himself as well 
as he could. They took him and kissed him, and compli- 
mented him highly upon his courage. They all but gave 
him bombons in recompense for his beautiful conduct. 
On the other hand, my friend Sir John imitated my ex- 
ample, and they treated him as a spy and put a dagger 
into him." 

" But he is not dead 1 " 

" No ; on the contrary, he is so very well that he wants 
to marry my sister." 

" Oh ! has he asked for her 1 " 

" Officially." 

" And you replied — " 

" I replied that my answer was dependent upon two 
persons." 

" Your mother and yourself, — exactly." 
"Not at all; my sister herself, and you." 
" Her I understand, but I — " 

u Did you not tell me, General, that you wanted to get 
her married? " 

Bonaparte walked up and down for a moment with his 
arms crossed, thinking deeply. Then suddenly he stopped 
before Roland. " What is your Englishman 1 " 

" You have seen him, General." 

" I do not speak of him physically. All Englishmen 
look alike, — blue eyes, red hair, white complexion, and 
long jaws." 

" It is the 4 the,' " said Eoland, gravely. 

" What do you mean by the ' the ' 1 " 

" You have learned English, General?" 

"I have tried to." 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



121 



" Then your teacher must have told you that the word 
' the ' was pronounced by putting the teeth against the 
tongue. Well, by dint of pronouncing the word 'the' 
and in consequence of pushing their teeth with their 
tongue, the Englishmen have ended by having that long 
jaw which, as you said just now, is one of the characteris- 
tics of their faces." 

Bonaparte looked at Eoland to see if he were serious. 
Eoland looked imperturbable. 

" You think so 1 " said Bonaparte. 

" Yes, General, and I think that physiologically it is as 
good an opinion as any other. I have a great many opin- 
ions like that, which I will air as the occasion offers." 

"Let us return to your Englishman." 

"Willingly, General." 

" I asked you what he was." 

"He is an excellent gentleman ; very brave, very calm, 
very quiet, very noble, very rich, and, which is probably 
no recommendation to yon, he is the nephew of Lord 
Grenville, prime minister to his Britannic Majesty." 

"Eh? What's that ?" 

" Prime minister to his Britannic Majesty." 

Bonaparte resumed his walk, and returning to Eoland, 
said, " Can I see your Englishman 1 " 

" You know very well, General, that you can do any- 
thing." 

" Where is he % " 

"In Paris." 

" Go and get him, and bring him to me." 

Eoland was accustomed to obey without a word ; he 
took his hat and started for the door. 

" Send Bourrienne to me," said the First Consul, just 
as Eoland was going into the secretary's room. Five min- 
utes after Eoland had disappeared, Bourrienne entered. 



122 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Sit down there, Bourrieune," said the First Consul. 

Bourrienne sat down, prepared his paper, dipped his 
pen in the ink, and waited. 

" Are you ready ? " asked Bonaparte, sitting down upon -> 
the very desk on which Bourrienne was writing. He 
had a habit, which exasperated his secretary, of rocking 
himself back and forth while he was dictating, in such a 
way as to shake the desk almost as much as if it was in 
the middle of the ocean, on a stormy sea. 

" I am ready," replied Bourrienne, who had become 
resigned to all the First Consul's eccentricities. 

" Then write." And he dictated : — 

Bonaparte, First Consul of the Republic, to his Majesty the 
king of Great Britain and Ireland: 

" Called by the French nation to occupy the position of first 
magistrate of the republic, I have found it advisable to address 
your Majesty personally. 

" Must this war, which has for eight years raged throughout 
the world, be endless ? Is there no means of stopping it ? 
How can the two most enlightened nations of Europe, both of 
them stronger and more powerful than their safety demands, 
sacrifice to ideas of vain grandeur or causeless antipathies the 
welfare of commerce, the prosperity of their people, and the 
happiness of their homes ? How can they fail to realize that 
peace is the first of necessities as well as of glories ? 

" These sentiments cannot be strangers to the heart of your 
Majesty, — you, who govern a free nation with the sole object 
of making it happy. 

" Your Majesty will see in this overture only my sincere de- 
sire to contribute effectually, for the second time, to a general 
peace, by a prompt measure, in all confidence, and without 
those formalities which, however necessary in themselves to dis- 
guise the dependence of weaker nations, only conceal in stronger 
ones the desire to deceive. France and England, by an ex- 
cessive use of their strength, may still, unhappily for their 
people, resist exhaustion; but I dare to affirm that the destiny 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



123 



of all civilized nations is dependent upon the end of a war 
which includes the entire world." 

Bonaparte stopped. "I think that will do," he said; 
" read it to me, Bourrienne." 

Bourrienne read the letter which he had just written. 
After each paragraph the First Consul nodded his head, 
saying, " Go on." Even before he had heard the last 
words, he took the letter from Bourrienne's hands and 
signed it with a new pen. He never used the same pen 
more than once ; nothing was more disagreeable to him 
than to get a stain of ink upon his fingers. 

"That is well," he said; "seal it and address it to 
Lord Grenville." 

Bourrienne did as he had been told. Just then a car- 
riage stopped in the courtyard of the Luxembourg. A 
moment later the door opened, and Roland appeared. 

" Well 1 " asked Bonaparte. 

" As I told you, you can do anything, General." 

" Did you get your Englishman 1 M 

" I met him on the Place de Buci, and knowing that 
you do not like to be kept waiting, I took him just as he 
was, and forced him to get into the carriage. Upon my 
word, for a moment I thought I should have to have him 
brought here by the post of the Rue Mazarine : he is in 
boots and overcoat." 

" Let him come in," said Bonaparte. 

"Come in, my lord," said Roland, turning around. 

Lord Tanlay appeared upon the threshold. Bonaparte 
needed only to glance at him to see that he was a perfect 
gentleman. A slight emaciation and a remnant of pallor 
gave Sir John a highly distinguished appearance. He 
bowed, and waited to be presented, like the true English- 
man that he was. 



124 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" General," said Roland, "I Lave the honor of present- 
ing to you Sir John Tanlajy who was willing to go as far 
as the third cataract of the Nile for the pleasure of seeing 
you, but who almost had to be taken by the ear to be 
brought as far as the Luxembourg." 

"Enter, my lord," said Bonaparte. "This is not the 
first time that we have seen each other, nor the first time 
I have expressed a desire to know you ; there was an ele- 
ment of ingratitude, therefore, in your refusal to grant my 
desire." 

"If I hesitated, General," replied Sir John, in excellent 
French, as usual, "it was only because I could not believe 
in the honor which you wished to do me." 

" And then, as a matter of national sentiment, you de- 
test me, do you not, like all your countrymen 1 " 

" I must confess, General," replied Sir John, smiling, 
"that they do not yet admire you." 

"And do you share in the absurd prejudice which be- 
lieves that national honor demands that we shall hate to- 
day the enemy who may be our friend to-morrow ] n 

" France has been for me a second mother-country, Gen- 
eral ; and my friend Roland will tell you that even now I 
hope for the moment when I shall belong more to France 
than to England." 

" Then you would not be sorry to have France and 
England clasp hands for the happiness of the world ? " 

" The day when I should see that would be a happy 
one for me." 

" And if you could contribute towards that result, would 
you do so 1 " 

" I would risk my life to do it." 

"Roland has told me that you are related to Lord 
Grenville." 

" I am his nephew." 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



125 



u Are you on good terms with him 1" 

" He dearly loved my mother, who was his elder sister." 

" And have you inherited that love 1 " 

" Yes ; but I think it is lying latent until such time as 
I shall return to England." 

" Will you undertake to carry a letter to him from 
me]" 

" Addressed to whom 1 " 

"To King George III." 

" It would be a great honor for me." 

"Will you undertake to tell your uncle by word of 
mouth such things as cannot be confided to a letter 1 " 

" Without changing a syllable ; the words of General 
Bonaparte are history." 

" Very well, tell him — " Then interrupting himself 
and turning to Bourrienne, he said, " Bourrienne, look for 
that letter from the emperor of Kussia." 

Bourrienne opened a portfolio, and, without searching, 
took out a letter which he gave to Bonaparte. Bonaparte 
glanced at it, and handing it to Lord Tanlay, said, — 

" Tell him first, and before all else, that you have read 
this letter." 

Sir John bowed and read : — 

Citizen First Consul, — I have received, armed, and 
clothed anew, each one in the uniform of his corps, the nine 
thousand Bussians who were taken prisoners in Holland, and 
whom you have sent me without ransom or exchange or any 
other condition. 

You did it from pure chivalry, and I claim to be a chevalier 
myself. The best thing that I can offer you in exchange for 
this magnificent gift is my friendship. Will you accept it % 

As an earnest of this friendship, I have sent passports to Lord 
Whit worth, the English ambassador to St. Petersburg. And 
furthermore, if you will second me, I will challenge to a duel 



126 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



all sovereigns who will not take part against England, and shut 
their doors to it. I will begin with my neighbor, the king ot 
Denmark, and you may read my challenge to him in the " Ga- 
zette de la Cour." 

Is there anything else for me to add ? No, — unless it is 
that we two can make laws for all the world ; and further- 
more, that I am 

Your admirer and sincere friend, 

Paul. 

Lord Tanlay turned to the First Consul. " Of course 
you know that the emperor of Russia is insane," he said. 

" Did you learn that from this letter, my lord 1 " asked 
Bonaparte. 

" No ; but it only confirms me in my opinion." 

" It was from a fool that Henry VI. of Lancaster re- 
ceived the crown of Saint Louis ; and the shield of Eng- 
land, until such time as I shall scratch them off with my 
sword, still bears the Jlezirs de lis of France." 

Sir John smiled. His national pride revolted at this 
pretension from the conqueror of the Pyramids. 

" But," continued Bonaparte, " we have nothing to do 
with that to-day, and it can take its time." 

" Yes," murmured Sir John, " we are still too near 
Aboukir." 

" Oh, I should not fight you upon the sea," said Bona- 
parte ; " it would take me fifty years to make a maritime 
nation of France. It is yonder — " And he motioned 
towards the Orient. " But just now, I repeat, it is a 
question not of war but of peace ; I require peace to ac- 
complish my dreams, and particularly peace with England. 
You see that I play an open game ; I am strong enough 
to he frank. When a diplomat will tell the truth, he be- 
comes the first statesman in the world, provided no one 
will believe him, and that from that time he meets with 
no obstacle." 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



127 



" I am then to tell my uncle that you desire peace?" 

" While telling him at the same time that I do not fear 
war. What I cannot do with King George, I can, as you 
see, do with Emperor Paul ; but Russia has not reached 
such a point of civilization that I desire it for an ally." 

" A tool is sometimes worth more than an ally." 

" Yes ; but as you have said, the emperor is a fool, and 
insane men should be disarmed, my lord, rather than 
armed. I tell you that two nations like France and Eng- 
land must be either inseparable friends or deadly enemies ; 
as friends they are the two poles of the earth, balancing 
its movement by an equal weight ; as enemies, one would 
have to be destroyed in order to make of the other the 
axis of the world." 

" And if Lord Grenville, without doubting your genius, 
doubts your power ; if he thinks with our poet Coleridge 
that the ocean with its hoarse murmur guards his isle and 
serves as its rampart, — what shall I tell him?" 

" Unroll that map of the world for me, Bourrienne," 
said Bonaparte. 

Bourrienne unrolled a map, and Bonaparte drew near. 
" Do you see these two rivers 1 " he asked ; and he pointed 
out the Volga and the Danube. " There is the road to 
India/' he added. 

" I thought that it was Egypt, General," returned Lord 
Tanlay. 

" I thought so once, too ; or rather I took it because I 
did not have any other. The czar opens this one to me ; 
may your government not force me to take it ! Do you 
follow me?" 

" Yes ; go on." 

" Well, if England forces me to fight, if I am obliged 
to accept an alliance with Catherine's successor, this is 
what I shall do. I shall embark forty thousand Russians 



128 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



on the Volga ; I shall make them descend the river as far 
as Astrakan • they will cross the Caspian sea, and wait for 
me at Asterabad." 

Sir John bowed in token of deep attention. 

Bonaparte continued : " I shall embark forty thousand 
French on the Danube." 

" I beg your pardon, but the Danube is an Austrian 
river." 

" I shall have taken Vienna." 
Sir John looked at Bonaparte. 

" I shall have taken Vienna," continued the latter. " I 
shall embark forty thousand Frenchmen on the Danube ; 
I shall find some Russian vessels at its mouth which will 
transport them as far as Taganrog ; I will bring them up 
along the course of the Don by land as far as Pratisbian- 
skaia, from which point they will be transported to Tzar- 
itsin ; there they will in their turn descend the Volga in 
the same ships which took the forty thousand Russians to 
Asterabad ; a fortnight later, and I have eighty thousand 
men in western Persia. From Asterabad, the two armies 
united will be carried on the Indus ; for Persia, the enemy 
of England, is our natural ally." 

" Yes ; but when you are once in the Punjab you will 
no longer have the benefit of the Persian alliance, and an 
army of eighty thousand men cannot very well carry its 
provisions along with it." 

" You forget one thing," said Bonaparte, as if the expe- 
dition were already an accomplished fact, " and that is 
that I have left bankers at Teheran and Caboul. Now 
recall what happened nine years ago in Lord Cornwallis's 
war with Tippoo-Saib : the general-in-chief needed pro- 
visions : a simple captain — I do not now recall his 
name — * 

" Captain Malcolm," said Lord Tanlay. 



THE AMBASSADOR. 



129 



" That 's it ! " exclaimed Bonaparte ; (t so you know the 
story ! Captain Malcolm had recourse to the caste of the 
brinjaries, those bohemiaus of India, who cover the penin- 
sula of Hindustan with their encampments, where they 
deal exclusively in grains. Well, these bohemians are to 
those who will pay them faithful to the last sou ; they are 
the ones who will feed me." 

" You would have to pass the Indus." 

" Very well ! " said Bonaparte ; " there are sixty 
leagues between Dera-Ismael-Khan and Attok. I know 
the Indus as well as I do the Seine ; it is a slow river, 
which flows at the rate of a league an hour, and whose 
medium depth at that place is from twelve to fifteen 
feet; and there are perhaps ten fords on my line of 
operations." 

" Then your line of operations is already traced % " asked 
Sir John, smiling. 

" Yes, provided it lies in the midst of an uninterrupted 
stretch of fertile and well- watered provinces ; provided 
that in entering upon it I escape the sandy deserts which 
separate the lower valley of the Indus from Eadjepout- 
anah ; provided, in short, that it is upon the basis of all 
invasions of India which have been successful, — from 
Mahmoud of Ghizni, in the year 1000, to jSTadir-Schah in 
1739 j and how many, in the interval between those two 
dates, have taken the road that I intend to take 1 Let us 
pass them in review. After Mahmoud of Ghizni, Maho- 
met-Gouri, in 1184, with one hundred and twenty thousand 
men ; after him, Timour-Lung, or Timour the Lame, from 
which we get Tamerlan, with sixty thousand men ; after 
Timour-Lung, Babour ; after Babour, Humayoun. Why, 
India is for whoever will or can take it." 

u You forget, citizen Consul, that all these conquerors 
whom you have just named have had to do with the 

VOL. II. —9 



130 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



natives, while you would have the English against you. 
We have in India — " 

"Twenty to twenty-two thousand men." 

" And a hundred thousand Sepoys." 

" I have taken each into account ; and I treat England 
and India, the one with the respect and the other with 
the scorn that they merit. Whenever I find European 
infantry, I prepare a second, a third, and if necessary a 
fourth line of reserves, in case the first three fall beneath 
the English bayonets ; but when I find only Sepoys, all I 
need for that rabble is horsewhips. Have you any further 
questions to ask me, my lord ] " 

" Only one ; do you seriously desire peace 1 " 

" Here is the letter in which 1 ask it of your king, my 
lord ; and it is because I want to be sure that it will reach 
his Britannic Majesty that I have asked the nephew of 
Lord Grenville to be my messenger." 

" It shall be done as you desire, citizen ; and if only I 
were the uncle instead of the nephew, I could promise 
more." 

" When will you start 1 " 

" In an hour." 

" You have no favor to ask of me before you go 1 " 

" None ; and if I had, I leave full powers with my 
friend Roland." 

" Give me your hand, my lord ; it will be a good omen, 
since you represent England, and I France." 

Sir John accepted the honor which Bonaparte offered 
him, with a fine discrimination which indicated at once 
his sympathy for France and his reservation in favor of 
national honor. Then, having clasped Eoland's hand 
with brotherly warmth, he bowed again to the First Con- 
sul, and went out. 

Bonaparte followed him thoughtfully with his eyes; 



THE AMBASSADOR. 131 

then he said suddenly : " Roland, I not only consent to 
your sister's marriage with Lord Tanlay, but I desire it ; 
do you hear'? I desire it." And he placed such emphasis 
upon each of the three words that they clearly signified, 
for those who knew the first Consul, not " I desire," but 
M I command." 

The tyranny was a sweet one for Roland ; and he 
acknowledged it gratefully. 



132 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE TWO SIGNALS. 

Now let us see what passed at the Chateau of Noires- 
Eontaines three days after the events in Paris which we 
have just related. 

Since first Roland, then Mme. de Montrevel and her 
son, and finally Sir John had gone to Paris, — - Roland to 
rejoin his General; Mme. de Montrevel to take Edward 
to school ; and Sir John to make his matrimonial propo- 
sals — to Roland, — Amelie had remained alone at the 
chateau with Charlotte. We say alone, because Michel 
and his son Jacques did not really live at the chateau; 
they slept in a little house by the gate, thus enabling 
Michel to perform the duties of door-keeper as well as of 
gardener. As a result, in the evening the three rows of 
windows in the chateau were dark, except for Amelie's 
room, (which was, as we have said, on the first floor over 
the garden), and that of Charlotte, which was up in the 
third story. Mme. de Montrevel had taken with her the 
second maid. 

The two young girls were certainly in a very lonely 
position in a building which was composed of a dozen 
rooms on each of the three floors, — above all at a time 
when public rumor told of so many disturbances on the 
high-roads. Michel, therefore, had proposed to his young 
mistress that he should sleep in the main building in order 
to be able to bring help to her in case of need ; but the 
latter had with a firm voice declared that she was not at 



THE TWO SIGNALS. 



133 



all afraid, and that she did not wish the usual arrange- 
ments of the chateau to be disturbed. Michel did not 
insist, and went away, saying that Mademoiselle could 
sleep quietly, since Jacques and he would make the cir- 
cuit of the grounds of the chateau. 

These arrangements of Michel had seemed to disturb 
Amelie for a moment ; but she had soon realized that Michel 
confined himself to going with Jacques to the borders of 
the forest of Seillon, and the frequent appearance upon 
the table either of hare or of roebuck proved that Michel 
kept his word and made his promised rounds. Amelie 
then ceased to disturb herself about Michel's rounds, which 
were exactly in the opposite direction to that in which she 
had feared they would be. 

Now, as I have said, three days after the events which 
I have just related, — or, more correctly speaking, during 
the night which followed the third day, — those who were 
accustomed to seeing a light in only two windows of the 
chateau (in that of Amelie on the first floor and that of 
Charlotte on the third) would have been astonished at 
noticing that from eleven o'clock until midnight the four 
windows on the first floor were lighted up. It is true 
that each one of them was lighted by only a single candle. 
They might have seen, besides, the figure of a young 
girl, who was watching in the direction of the village of 
Ceyzeriat. 

This young girl was Amelie, — Amelie, pale, breathing 
heavily, and seeming to wait anxiously for a signal. At 
the end of a few moments she wiped her forehead and 
breathed more easily. A fire had just been lighted in 
the direction in which she had been looking. She imme- 
diately passed from room to room and extinguished, one 
after another, the three candles, leaving only the one 



134 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



which was in her own room. As if the fire had been 
waiting for this, it was extinguished in its turn. 

Amelie now sat down near her w r indow and remained 
motionless, with her eyes fixed upon the garden. It was a 
dark night, without stars or moon ; but at the end of a 
quarter of an hour she saw, or rather guessed at, a shadow 
which crossed the lawn and approached the chateau. She 
placed her single candle in the farthest end of the room, 
and came back to open her window. 

The one for whom she had been waiting was already 
upon the balcony. As upon the first night when we saw 
him at her window', he wrapped his arms around the figure 
of the young girl and bore her into the room. But she 
offered a slight resistance j she felt for the cord of the 
blind, unfastened it from the nail which held it, and the 
blind fell with more noise then prudence would perhaps 
have indicated. Behind the blind she shut the window. 
Then she went to get the candle from the corner where 
she had concealed it. Her face was lighted up by it. 

The young man uttered a cry of fright, for her face was 
covered with tears. " What has happened 1 " he asked. 

" A great misfortune," said the young girl. 

" Oh, I was sure of it when I saw the signal by which 
you summoned me, after having received me last night. 
But tell me, is this misfortune irreparable 1 " 

" Very nearly," replied Amelie. 

" At least I hope it threatens only me." 

" It threatens both of us." 

The young man passed his hand over his forehead and 
wiped away the perspiration. " Come," he said, " I am 
strong." 

" If you are strong to listen, I am not strong enough to 
tell it to you." Then taking a letter from the mantel- 
piece she said : " Read this. I received it this morning." 



THE TWO SIGNALS. 



135 



The young man took the letter, and opening it, looked 
at the signature. "It is from Mme. de Montrevel," he 
said. 

" Yes, with a postscript from Roland." 
The young man read : — 

My dear Daughter, — I hope the news which I am about 
to announce to you will cause you as much joy as it has given 
me and our dear Eoland. 

Sir John, whom you have always declared to be without a 
heart, and who you pretended was a sort of mechanism, ac- 
knowledges that this judgment of him was a correct one until 
the day when he saw you; but he maintains that since that 
day he has had a real heart, and that this heart adores you. 
Would you ever have suspected it, my dear Amelie, from his 
aristocratic and polished manners, in which even the eyes of a 
mother recognized no tenderness 1 

This morning, while breakfasting with your brother, he 
asked officially for your hand. Your brother welcomed the 
overture with joy ; but he gave him no decided answer at 
first, for the First Consul, when Eoland went away to la 
Vendee, had already spoken of taking charge of your marriage 
arrangements. But the First Consul asked to see Lord Tanlay ; 
and when he saw him, Lord Tanlay from the first moment, in 
spite of his national reserve, won the good graces of the First 
Consul to such an extent that he charged him on the spot with 
a mission for his uncle, Lord Grenville. Lord Tanlay started 
at once for England. I do not know how many days he will 
be absent, but upon his return he will certainly ask permission 
to come to you as your betrothed. 

Lord Tanlay is still young, with an agreeable face and an 
immense fortune. He is admirably connected in England, and 
is Eoland's friend. I do not know of any man who has more 
right, I will not say to your love, my dear Amelie, but your 
deep esteem. 

I have only a word or two to add. The First -Consul is al- 
ways very good to me and to your two brothers; and Mme. 
Bonaparte has told me that she is only waiting for your mar- 



136 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



riage in order to have you near her. They talk of leaving the 
Luxembourg and going to live at the Tuileries. Do you 
understand all that this change of residence implies ? 
Your loving mother, 

Clotilde de Montrevel. 

Without stopping, the young man went on to Roland's 
postscript. 

You have read, my dear little sister, what our good mother 
has written. This marriage is suitable on every account. You 
must not pretend to be bashful. The First Consul desires 
that you shall be Lady Tanlay, which means that he com- 
mands it. 

I am leaving Paris for a few days ; but if I do not see you, 
you will hear from me. 

Yours, Roland. 

" Well, Charles," asked Arnelie, when the young man 
had finished reading, " what do you say to that 1 " 

" It is something which we might expect at any time, 
my poor angel, but which is not the less terrible." 

M What shall we do?" 

" There are three tilings to be done." 

" What are they 1 " 

" First, resist if you have strength for it ; it is the 
shortest and surest way." 
Amelie hung her head. 
" You think you will never dare ? " 
"Never !" 

"But you are my wife, Amelie; a priest has blessed 
our union." 

"But they say that this marriage is nothing in the 
sight of the law, since it has been blessed only by a 
priest." 

"And for you," said Morgan, " to be the wife of an out- 
law is not enough 1 " As he spoke, his voice trembled. 



THE TWO SIGNALS. 



137 



Amelie sprang forward and threw herself into his 
arms. " But my mother," she said, — " we did not have 
my mother's presence and benediction." 

"Because there were risks to run , and we wished to 
share them with no one." 

11 And this man, — do you not understand that my 
brother said he commanded ? " 

" Oh, if you loved me, Amelie, this man would soon 
find that though he can change the face of nations, carry 
war from one end of the world to another, found a method 
of government, and build up a throne, he cannot force 
one mouth to say yes when the heart says no." 

" If I loved you ! " said Amelie, in a tone of gentle 
reproach. " It is midnight ; you are in my room, and I 
am weeping in your arms. I am the daughter of General 
de Montrevel, and I am Roland's sister ; and yet you say, 
' if you love me ! ' " 

" I am wrong, I am wrong, my dear Amelie ! Yes, I 
know that you have been brought up almost to worship 
this man. You do not understand that he can be re- 
sisted, and whoever opposes him is in your eyes a rebel." 

" Charles, you said that there were three things which 
we could do. What is the second one 1 " 

" Pretend to accept the marriage which is proposed to 
you, but gain time by delaying it under all sorts of pre- 
texts. The man is not immortal." 

" No, but he is very young for us to count upon his 
death. What is the third thing, my friend 1 " 

" Fly ! But to this extreme measure, Amelie, there 
are two obstacles. Your dislike to it is the first." 

" I am yours, Charles. I can overcome this dislike." 

" And then," added the young man, " my engagements." 

" Your engagements ? " 

"My companions and I are bound together, Amelie. 



138 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



We also have a man to whom we have sworn ohedience. 
This man is the future king of France. If you admit 
your brother's devotion to Bonaparte, admit ours to 
Louis XVIII." 

Ainelie let her head fall into her hands with a sigh. 
"Then," she said, "we are lost." 

" How so 1 Under different pretexts, — above all that 
of your health, — you can gain a year. Before a year he 
will probably be obliged to begin another war with Italy. 
A single defeat would take away his reputation. In short, 
many things may come to pass." 

" Then you did not read Roland's postscript, Charles ] " 

" Oh, yes ; bnt I don't see anything more in it than in 
your mother's letter." 

" Read the last sentence again ; " and Amelie put the 
letter into the young man's hands. 

He read : — 

"I am leaving Paris for a few days ; but if you do not 
see me, you will hear from me." 

"Well?" 

" Do you know what that means ? " 
"Eo." 

" It means that Roland is in pursuit of you." 
" What does that matter, since he cannot be killed by 
any of us 1 9 

" But you, unfortunate one, you may be killed by 
him ! " 

"Do you think I should blame him much if he killed 
me, Amelie 1" 

" Oh, I did not dream of this in my darkest moments ! " 

" Then you think that your brother is in pursuit of 
us?" 

" I am sure of it." 



THE TWO SIGNALS. 



139 



" What makes you so sure 1 " 

" When Sir John was dying, and Roland believed him 
already dead, he swore an oath over his body to avenge 
him." 

" If he had only been dead, instead of dying," said the 
young man, bitterly, "we should not be where we are now, 
Arnelie." 

" God saved him, Charles ; it was therefore good that 
he should not die." 
"Good for usl" 

"I cannot judge our Lord's designs. I tell you, my 
beloved Charles, to beware of Roland ! He is not far 
away." 

Charles smiled incredulously. 

" I tell you that he is not only near us, — he is here. 
He has been seen." 

" He has been seen 1 Where, and by whom ] " 

" Who has seen him " 

"Yes." 

" Charlotte, my maid, a daughter of the prison turnkey. 
She asked permission to go and visit her parents yesterday. 
I wanted to see you, and I gave her leave until this 
morning." 

" Weill" 

" She passed the night with her parents. At eleven o'clock 
the captain of police brought in some prisoners. Their 
names were being entered on the books. A man came in 
wrapped in a cloak, and asked for the captain. Charlotte 
thought she recognized his voice. She looked at him 
intently, and once when the cloak slipped away from his 
face, she recognized my brother." 

The young man made a sudden movement. 

" Do you understand, Charles % My brother has come 
here to Bonrg. He has come mysteriously, without even 



140 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



warning me of his presence ; he has asked for the captain 
of police, has followed him into the prison,has spoken 
to him alone, and has disappeared. Is that not a terrible 
menace for my love 1 " 

And in truth, in proportion as Amelie went on, her 
lover's brow grew dark and gloomy. "Anielie," he said, 
" when we became what we are, none of us disguised from 
ourselves the perils which we ran." 

"But at least," said Amelie, "you have changed your 
refuge. You have abandoned the monastery of Seillon ] " 

"Our dead are its only inhabitants now." 

" Is the cave of Ceyzeriat a safe refuge? " 

"As safe as any refuge can be which has two outlets." 

" The monastery of Seillon had two outlets, and yet, as 
you said, you have left your dead there." 

" The dead are safer than the living. They are certain 
not to die upon the scaffold." 

Amelie felt a shudder pass through her whole being. 
" Charles ! " she murmured. 

" Listen," said the young man. " God is my witness, 
and so are you, that I have always in our interviews put 
my smile and my gayety between your forebodings and 
my fears. To-day the aspect of things is changed. We 
are about to have a struggle. Whatever it may be, Ave are 
approaching the end. I do not ask of you, my Amelie, 
those foolish and selfish vows which lovers who are threat- 
ened with great danger often exact. I do not ask you to 
keep your love for the dead, your heart for a corpse." 

" Love ! " said the young girl, putting her hand upon 
his arm, " take care ! you are doubting me ! " 

"Xo ; the merit on your part will be still greater if I 
leave you free to accomplish the sacrifice in its whole ex- 
tent ; but I will not bind you with an oath, or constrain 
you with a tie." 



THE TWO SIGNALS. 



141 



"It is well," said Amelie. 

"What I do ask of you," continued the young man, 
" what you must swear to me upon our love, — such a 
fatal one for you, — is, that if I am arrested, if I am dis- 
armed, imprisoned, and condemned to death, in some way 
you will send weapons not only for me but for my com- 
panions also, so that we may still be masters of our own 
lives." 

" But in that case, Charles, would you not permit me to 
tell all, to appeal to my brother's tenderness and the gen- 
erosity of the First Consul 1 " 

The young girl did not finish, for her lover seized her 
violently by the arm. "Amelie," he said, "I exact from 
you, not one oath, but two. You must swear first, and 
before all, that you will not ask for mercy for me. Swear 
it, Amelie ! Swear it ! " 

"Do I need to swear it, my love 1 ?" asked the young 
girl, sobbing. " I promise it." 

"Do you promise it upon the moment when I told you 
that I loved you, upon that in which you replied that I 
was beloved 1 99 

" On your love and mine, on the past and the future, 
on our smiles and our tears ! " 

" I should die just the same, you see, Amelie, even 
though I were to break my head against the wall ; but I 
should die dishonored." 

" I promise, Charles." 

" There remains my second request, Amelie. If we are 
taken and condemned, send weapons or poison, — some 
means of dying, no matter what. If it comes from you, 
death will still be a happiness to me." 

"Near or far, free or a prisoner, living or dead, you are 
my master and I am your slave. Command, and I obey." 

" That is all, Amelie. You see it is simple and clear." 



142 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Simple and clear, but terrible." 

" And it will be as I wish, will it not ? M 

" You desire it f " 

" I entreat it." 

£< Order or prayer, my dear Charles, your will shall be 
obeyed." 

The young man supported her with his left arm, for she 
was almost fainting, and put his lips to hers. 

But just as their lips were about to touch, the cry of a 
screech-owl was heard so near the window that Ainelie 
trembled and Charles raised his head. The cry was heard 
a second time, and then a third. 

" Ah," murmured Amelie, " do you recognize the cry of 
that bird of evil augury 1 We are doomed, my love." 

But Charles shook his head. " That is not an owl's 
cry, Amelie," he said; "it is a signal from one of my 
companions. Put out the light." 

Amelie blew out the light while her lover opened the 
window. 

" Ah ! n she murmured, " they have come to look for 
you even here." 

" Oh, it is our friend and confidant, the Comte de Jayat. 
No one else knows where I am." Then from the balcony 
he asked : " Is it you, Montbar?" 

" Yes ; is it you, Morgan 1 " 

" Yes." 

A man emerged from beneath the trees. " There is 
news from Paris. Not a moment to lose ; it is a question 
of all our lives." 

u Do you hear, Amelie 1 " He took the young girl in 
his arms and pressed her convulsively to his heart. 

" Go," she said faintly. " Do you not hear that it 
concerns the lives of all of you % " 

" Adieu, my beloved Amelie ; adieu ! " 



THE TWO SIGNALS. 



143 



" Oh, do not say adieu ! " 
" No, no ! au revoir." 

" Morgan ! Morgan ! " said the voice of the man who 
was waiting below the balcony. 

The young man put his lips once more to Amelie's, and 
hastening out of the window, threw his leg over the bal- 
cony, and with a single bound reached the ground. 

Amelie uttered a cry and went forward to the railing ; 
but she only saw two shadows who faded away in the 
darkness, which was made still thicker by the neighbor- 
hood of the great trees which formed the park. 



144 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE CAVE OF CEYZERIAT. 

♦ 

The two young men plunged beneath the shadow of the 
great trees. Morgan guided his companion, who was less 
familiar than himself with the windings of the park, and 
conducted him to the place where he was in the habit of 
scaling the wall. It took only a moment for each of 
them to accomplish this feat. An instant afterwards they 
were standing on the border of the Reyssouse. A boat 
was waiting beneath a willow-tree. They leaped into it, 
and were almost immediately at the other bank. A little 
path went along the bank of the river, and led to the 
wood which extends from Ceyzeriat to Etrez, about three 
leagues in all. 

"When they had arrived at the border of the wood they 
stopped. Until then they had walked as rapidly as pos- 
sible wuthout running, and neither of them had pro- 
nounced a word. The road had seemed deserted. It was 
almost certain that no one had seen them. They could 
therefore take breath. 

" Where are the others ? " asked Morgan. 

" In the cave/* replied Montbar. 

" And why did you not go there immediately 1 " 

" Because at the left of this beech-tree we shall find one 
of our men, who will tell us whether we can go farther 
without danger." 

« Which one 1 " 

" D'Assas." 



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145 



A shadow appeared from behind the tree and drew 
nearer. " Here I am," it said. 

"Ah, is it you?" said both young men. 
" What news 1 " asked Montbar. 

" Nothing. They are waiting for you in order to make 
a decision." 

" In that case, let us go quickly." 

The three young men resumed their way. At the end of 
three hundred paces Montbar stopped again. " Armand," 
he said in a low tone. 

At this call they heard a rustling of dry leaves, and a 
fourth shadow came out from behind an oak and approached 
the three companions. 

"Anything new?" asked Montbar. 

" Yes, indeed ! a messenger from Cadoudal." 

" The one who came before 1 " 

" Yes." 

" Where is he % " 

" With the brothers in the cave." 
"Come on." 

Montbar led the way. The path was so narrow that 
the four young men could not walk except in single file. 
The path led up to the cave by a winding ascent for about 
five hundred feet. When they reached a clearing, Montbar 
stopped and uttered three times the same cry of the screech- 
owl which had indicated his presence to Morgan. A single 
hoot of the owl replied to him. Then from the midst of 
the branches of an oak a man leaped to the ground. It 
was the sentinel who was watching over the entrance to the 
cave. This entrance was ten feet away from the oak. By 
reason of the thickets which surrounded it, it could not be 
seen until one was almost upon it. 

The sentinel exchanged a few words with Montbar, who 
seemed by fulfilling the duties of the chief to wish to 

VOL. II. — 10 



146 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



leave Morgan free to indulge in his own thoughts ; and 
then, as his duty was not finished, he mounted again into 
the branches of the oak, and a moment later could not 
be distinguished from the body of the tree ; so that those 
from whose sight he had just disappeared sought vainly 
for him in his airy retreat. 

The path became still narrower as they approached the 
entrance to the cave. Montbar went first, and from the 
place where he knew that they were hidden drew out a 
flint and steel, some tinder, some matches, and a torch. 
The flame leaped forth, the tinder caught fire, the match 
showed its bluish, uncertain light, and was followed by 
the flaming and resinous glare of the torch. 

Three or four paths could be seen, one of which Montbar 
took without hesitating. This path turned upon itself as 
it entered the earth, and it seemed as if the young men 
were retracing under the ground their own footsteps, and 
were going in the opposite direction to the road which 
they had taken in coming. It was evident that they were 
following the windings of the old stone quarry, perhaps 
the same from which were hewn nineteen hundred years be- 
fore the three Eoman towns which to-day are only villages, 
and the camp of Caesar which surmounts them. From 
place to place the subterranean path which they were fol- 
lowing was cut across by a large ditch, which they could 
cross only by the aid of a plank, which could be sent to 
the bottom of the abyss by a single kick. From place to 
place there were projections, behind which the men could 
intrench themselves and fire without exposing any part of 
their bodies to the enemy. 

Finally, about a hundred feet from the entrance, a bar- 
ricade as high as a man offered a last obstacle to those who 
had succeeded in reaching a sort of rotunda, where were 
lying or sitting about a dozen men, some busy reading, 



THE CAVE OF CEYZERIAT. 



147 



some playing. Neither the readers nor the gamesters dis- 
turbed themselves at the sound of the steps of the new 
arrivals, or at sight of the light which played upon the 
surface of the stones, for they were sure that only friends 
could penetrate to them, guarded as they were. 

The appearance of this encampment was highly pict- 
uresque. The wax candles which burned in profusion, — 
for these companions of Jehu were too aristocratic to use 
any other light, — reflected upon trophies of arms of all 
kinds, among which double-barrelled guns and pistols 
held the first rank. Fencing foils and masks were hung in 
the intervals. A few instruments of music were placed here 
and there, and one or two mirrors in their gilded frames 
indicated that the toilet was not one of the 4east appre- 
ciated of the pastimes of the strange inhabitants of this 
subterranean dwelling. They all seemed as composed as 
if the news which had snatched Morgan from Amelie's 
arms had been unknown to them, or regarded as of little 
importance. 

When at the approach of the little group from outside 
the words, " The captain, the captain," were heard, they 
all rose, not with the servility of soldiers who see their 
general approaching, but with the affectionate deference 
of intelligent and strong men to one stronger and more 
intelligent than they. Morgan shook his head and lifted 
his face, and passing before Montbar penetrated to the 
centre of the circle that had formed at sight of him. 

" Well, my friends," he said, " it seems there is some 
news." 

" Yes, Captain," said a voice ; " they say that the First 
Consul's police are doing us the honor of occupying them- 
selves about us." 

" Where is the messenger 1 " asked Morgan. 

" Here I am," said a young man dressed in the uniform of 
a cabinet courier, and all covered still with dust and mud. 



148 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Have you any dispatches?" 

" Written, no. Verbal, yes." 

" Whence do they come % " 

44 From the minister's own cabinet." 

" Then they can be depended upon % " 

" I will answer for them. They are entirely official." 

"It is a good thing to have friends everywhere," said 
Montbar, in a sort of parenthesis. 

44 And particularly near M. Fouche," replied Morgan. 
44 Let us hear the news." 

44 Shall I say it aloud or to you alone % " 

44 As I suppose it interests us all, say it aloud." 

44 Well, the First Consul summoned citizen Fouche to 
the palace ©f the Luxembourg, and hauled him over the 
coals on our account." 

44 Good ! What then 1 " 

44 Citizen Fouche replied that Ave were very adroit 
knaves ; very difficult to find, and still more difficult to 
take when found. In short, he praised us to the skies." 

44 That was very good of him. And then?" 

44 Then the First Consul replied that that did not con- 
cern him ; that we were brigands, and that it was we who 
by our robberies were sustaining the war in la Vendee ; 
that as soon as we stopped sending money into Brittany 
there would be no more fighting from the Chouans." 

44 That is admirable reasoning." 

44 And that it was in the east and south that they must 
strike the west." 

44 Like England and India." 

44 And that consequently he would give carte-blanche to 
citizen Fouche ; and that even if it cost a million in money, 
and killed five hundred men, he must have our heads." 

44 Well, he knows what he wants ; it remains to see if 
we shall let him take them." 



THE CAVE OF CEYZERIAT. 



149 



"Then citizen Fouche was furious, and declared that 
before a week bad gone by there would not be a single 
companion of Jehu left in France." 

" The delay is short.'' 

" On the same day couriers were sent out from Lyons, 
Macon, Lons-le-Saulnier, Besancon, and Geneva, with 
orders for the chiefs of the garrisons to do, personally, 
everything that they could to accomplish our destruction, 
but for all to obey unquestioningly Roland de Montrevel, 
aide-de-camp of the First Consul, and to put at his dis- 
posal, for use as may seem good to him, all the troops that 
he may need." 

" And I can add to this," said Morgan, " that Roland 
de Montrevel is already at work. Yesterday, at the prison 
at Bourg, he had a conference with the captain of police." 

" Do you know to what end 1 ?" asked a voice. 

" Why," said another, " to secure lodgings for us." 

" And now, will you still offer him your safe-guard 1 " 
asked D'Assas. 

" More than ever." 

" Oh, that is too much ! " murmured a voice. 

" Why % " asked Morgan, impatiently. " Is it not my 
right, if only as a companion V 

" Certainly," said two other voices. 

" Very well ; I make use of it both as a companion and 
as your captain." 

" But suppose, in the midst of the fight, a bullet should 
happen to strike him ] " said a voice. 

" Then, my friends, I do not claim it as a right, or 
give it as an order, but I ask it as a prayer. Promise me 
on your honor that the life of Roland de Montrevel shall 
be sacred in your eyes ! " 

With one voice all who were there replied, as they ex- 
tended their hands : " Upon honor, we swear it ! " 



150 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" And now," continued Morgan, " we must look at our 
position from its true point of view without any illusions. 
If the day really comes when an intelligent police sets out 
to pursue us, and really makes war upon us, it will he 
impossible for us to resist. We can use the cunning of 
foxes ; we can turn like the wild boar ; but our resistance 
will be simply a matter of time. That is my opinion, at 
least." 

Morgan questioned his companions with his eyes, and 
found that they agreed with him ; but it was with a smile 
upon their lips that they recognized that their fall was 
assured. Thus it was at this strange period. Men received 
death without fear, and gave it without emotion. 

" And now," asked Montbar, " have you nothing to 
add?" 

"Yes," said Morgan, "I have to add that nothing is 
easier than for us to get horses, or even to go away on 
foot. We are all hunters and more or less mountaineers. 
On horseback it will take us six hours to get out of France. 
On foot we should need twelve. Once in Switzerland, we 
can make a jest of citizen Fouche and his police. That 
is what I have to add." 

" It would be very amusing to make a jest of citizen 
Fouche," said Adler, "but very tiresome to leave France." 

" Therefore I "will not put this extreme measure to vote 
until after we have heard the messenger from Cadoudal." 

"Ah, that is true," said two or three voices. "The 
Breton, where is the Breton ? " 

" He was sleeping when I went out," said Montbar. 

" And he is sleeping still," said Adler, pointing to a 
man lying upon a bed of straw in a retired part of the 
cave. 

They woke the Breton, who rose to his knees, rubbing 
his eyes with one hand and feeling for a rifle with the 
other. 



THE CAVE OF CEYZERIAT. 



151 



" You are with friends," said a voice ; " do not be 
afraid." 

" Afraid ! " said the Breton ; " who thinks I am afraid 1 " 

" Some one who probably does not know what fear is, 
my dear Branche-d'Or," said Montbar (for he recognized 
Cadoudal's messenger as the one who had already been 
there, and who had been sent into the monastery on the 
night when he himself had arrived from Avignon), " and 
in his name I ask your pardon." 

Branche-d'Or looked at the group of young men in 
whose presence he found himself with an air which left 
no doubt of the repugnance with which he accepted a cer- 
tain kind of joke. But as this group had nothing offen- 
sive about it, and it was evident that its gayety was not 
mockery, he asked pleasantly enough, — 

" Which of you gentlemen is the chief 1 I have a letter 
for him from my general." 

Morgan stepped forward. " It is I," he said. 

"Your name] " 

" I have two." 

" Your nom-de-guerre ? " 

" Morgan." 

" Yes, that is what the general said. Besides, I recog- 
nized you. It was you who on the evening I was received 
by the monks gave me a bag of sixty thousand francs. 
Well, then, I have a letter for you." 

" Give it to me." 

The peasant took his hat, tore out the lining, and from 
between the lining and the felt took out a piece of paper, 
which at first sight seemed to be blank. Then, with a 
military salute, he presented the paper to Morgan. 

The latter turned it round and round, and seeing that 
no writing was visible upon it, said : "A candle." 

They brought the candle, and Morgan held the paper 



152 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



near the flame. Little by little it became covered with 
characters, the writing appearing beneath the warmth. 
This proceeding seemed to be familiar to the young men ; 
the Breton alone watched it with surprise. To his inno- 
cent mind there must have seemed to be a certain magic 
in it. But if the devil would only serve the royalist 
cause, the Chouan was not reluctant to have dealings 
with him. 

"Gentlemen," said Morgan, "would you like to hear 
what the master says to us 1 " 

They all bowed their heads and listened. The young 
man read : 

My dear Morgan, — If any one tells you that I have aban- 
doned the cause and treated with the government of the First 
Consul, like the Vendeean chiefs, do not believe a word of it. 
I am a Breton of the Bretons, and consequently as obstinate 
as any one of them. The First Consul has sent one of his 
aides-de-camp to offer me a free pardon for my men, and the 
rank of colonel for myself. I did not even consult my men : 
I refused for them and for me. 

Now, all depends on you. As we receive from princes 
neither money nor encouragement, you are our only treasurer. 
Shut your money-boxes, or rather cease to open for us those 
of the government, and the royalist opposition, whose heart 
beats only in Brittany, will grow fainter and fainter, and die 
away altogether. I do not need to tell you that when it is 
dead, mine also will have ceased to beat. 

Our mission is dangerous. Probably we shall lose our heads 
by it ; but do you not think it will be beautiful to hear men say 
of us, — if one can hear anything beyond the tomb , — "Every- 
one else despaired, but they did not despair" ? One of us two 
will survive the other, but only to yield in his turn. Let the 
latter say in dying, " Etiamsi omnes, ego non." 

Count upon me, as I count upon you. 

Georges Cadoudal. 
P. S. — You know that you can send by Branche-d'Or any 



THE CAVE OF CEYZERIAT. 



153 



money that you may have on hand for the cause. He has 
promised me not to allow it to be taken away from him, and 
I can trust his word. 

A murmur of enthusiasm rose among the young men 
when Morgan had finished the last words of this letter. 

" You have heard, gentlemen 1 " he said. 

" Yes, yes, yes ! " replied every voice. 

" In the first place, what sum have we on hand to give 
to Branche-d'Or?" 

"Thirteen thousand francs from Lake Silans, twenty- 
two thousand from the Carronnieres, fourteen thousand 
from Mexmrieux, — total, forty-nine thousand," said 
Adler. 

" You hear, my dear Branche-d'Or 1 " said Morgan. " It 
is not much, and we are half as poor again as we were 
last time. But we can only give you what we have." 

' k The general knows what you risk in getting this 
money, and he said that whatever little you could send 
to him he would receive it gratefully." 

" All the more so, that the next instalment will be a 
better one," said the voice of a young man who had 
mingled with the group without being noticed, their at- 
tention being entirely concentrated upon Cadoudal's letter 
and the one who was reading it ; " particularly if we only 
say two words to the mail-coach from Cliambery next 
Saturday." 

" Ah, is it you, Valensolle ? " said Morgan. 

" No proper names, if you please, Baron. Let us be 
shot, guillotined, broken on the wheel, or torn asunder if 
you like, but let us save the honor of our family. I am 
called Adler, and I reply to no other name." 

u I beg your pardon, I was wrong. You wefre saying — " 

" That the mail-coach from Paris to Chambery will pass 
next Saturday between the Chapelle-de-Guinchay and 



154 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Belleville, carrying fifty thousand francs from the govern- 
ment to the monks of Saint Bernard ; to which I will add 
that there is between these two places a spot named the 
Maison Blanche, which seems to me admirably arranged 
for the ambuscade." 

" What do you say, gentlemen ?" asked Morgan. " Shall 
we do citizen Foucbe the honor to be afraid of his police ? 
Shall we go ] Shall we leave France, or shall we remain 
faithful companions of Jehu 1 " 

There was only one cry ; " We will remain ! " 

" Very well," said Morgan ; " there spoke my brave 
brothers. Cadoudal has traced out our path for us in the 
admirable letter which we have just received from him. 
Let us then adopt his heroic motto, — 1 Etiamsi omnes, 
ego non.'" Then, addressing the Breton peasant, he 
added : " Branche-d'Or, the forty-nine thousand francs 
are at your disposal. You may go as soon as you like, 
Promise in our name something better next time, and tell 
the general from me that wherever he goes, be it even to 
the scaffold, I shall do myself the honor either to follow 
or precede him. Farewell, Branche-d'Or." Then, turning 
towards the young man who had seemed so desirous of 
having his incognito respected, he said, like one who had 
recovered the gayety which had been for a moment ab- 
sent : " My dear Adler, may I ask you to eat something 
and go to bed, providing you will condescend to accept 
me for your host % " 

" Gratefully, friend Morgan," replied the new arrival ; 
" only I warn you that I am dying of fatigue and perish- 
ing of hunger." 

" You shall have a good bed and an excellent supper." 

" What shall I do to get it ? " 

"Follow me." 

" I am ready." 



THE CAVE OF CEYZERIAT. 



155 



"Then come. Good-night, gentlemen. Is it your 
watch, Montbar 1 ?" 
" Yes." 

" Then we can sleep tranquilly." 

Thereupon Morgan took his friend's arm, and holding 
in the other hand a torch, disappeared in the depths of 
the cave, whither we will follow him. 

It was the first time that Valensolle, who had come 
from the neighborhood of Aix, had had occasion to visit 
the cave of Ceyzeriat, which had been recently adopted 
by the companions of Jehu as a place of refuge. On the 
preceding visits he had only had occasion to explore the 
windings of the monastery of Seillon, with which he had 
finally become so well acquainted that in the comedy 
played before Roland they had confided to him the part 
of the ghost. All was then interesting and strange to 
him in the new domicile which he was to explore for 
the first time, and which appeared to be, for a few days 
at least, Morgan's headquarters. 

As in all abandoned quarries, which resemble at first 
sight a subterranean city, the different roads cut for the 
extraction of the stone all ended in a cul-de-sac. One 
only of these roads seemed to be prolonged indefinitely. 
However, there came a point at last where it seemed to 
have been finished ; but towards the angle at the end of 
the road an opening two thirds as large as the gallery to 
which it led had been hollowed out, for some reason which 
always remained a mystery to the country people. The two 
friends went out through this opening. The air was so 
rare that their torch at each step was nearly extinguished. 

Valensolle felt drops of icy water falling upon his 
shoulders and hands. " Here ! " he said, " is it raining 1 " 

" jSTo," replied Morgan, laughing. " but we are passing 
under the Reyssouse." 



156 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Then we are going to Bourg ? " 
" Very nearly." 

" Very well, the responsibility is yours. You. promised 
rne a supper and a bed. I have nothing to worry about 
except that our torch may be extinguished," added the 
young man, following with his eyes the waning light of 
the flame. 

"And that would not do much harm, for we could still 
find ourselves." 

" Well," said Valensolle, " when one stops to think that 
it is for princes who do not even know our names, and 
who if they should hear them would forget them the next 
day, that at three o'clock in the morning we are walking 
in a cave under a river, and going to bed I do not know 
where, with a prospect of being taken, tried, and guil- 
lotined some fine morning, do you not think it looks 
stupid, Morgan?" 

" My dear friend," replied Morgan, " what appears to 
be stupid, and what would be thought so in many cases, 
may possibly be sublime." 

" Oh," said Valensolle, " I see that you are even further 
gone than I am. I bring only devotion to the cause, 
while you bring enthusiasm." 

Morgan uttered a sigh. " Here you are," he said, 
allowing the conversation to drop, like a burden which was 
too heavy for him to carry any longer. 

In fact, they had just touched with their feet the first 
steps of the staircase. Morgan, holding the torch, and • 
preceding Valensolle, went up a few steps and came to a 
gdte. By means of a key which he drew from his pocket 
the gate was opened. They were in a burial vault. On 
two sides of this vault two coffins were placed upon iron 
tripods. Ducal crowns and the azure escutcheon with a 
silver cross indicated that these coffins must contain mem- 



THE CAVE OF CEYZERTAT. 



157 



bers of the family of Savoy, who had died before that 
family wore the royal crown. A staircase was visible in 
the depths of the vault, leading to an upper floor. 

Yalensolle threw a curious look around him, and by 
the flickering light of the torch recognized the gloomy 
locality in which he found himself. " The devil ! " he 
said. " It seems to me we are taking an opposite course 
from the Spartans." 

" Because they were republicans and we are royalists'? " 
asked Morgan. 

" iSTo ; because they introduced a skeleton at the end 
,of their repast, while it comes at the beginning of ours." 

" Are you very sure that it was the Spartans who em- 
ployed that piece of philosophy 1 " asked Morgan, shutting 
the door. 

" Them or others, it does not matter," said Valensolle. 

"Well, another time say Egyptians." 

" Very well," said Yalensolle, with a carelessness which 
did not lack a sort of melancholy. " I shall probably be 
a skeleton myself before I have occasion to show- my learn- 
ing again. But what are you doing, and why are you 
putting out the torch 1 I hope you are not going to make 
me eat supper and go to bed here." 

In fact, Morgan had just extinguished the torch upon 
the first step of the staircase, which led to an upper floor. 
"Give me your hand," replied the young man. 

Yalensolle seized his friend's hand with an eagerness 
which betrayed a moderate desire not to make a long stay 
in the midst of the shadows of the vault of the dukes of 
Savoy, however honored he might have felt at having met 
them when they were still living. Morgan mounted the 
steps. Then the muscles of his hand stiffened as with an 
effort. In fact, the stone of the pavement was being 
raised, and through the opening a twilight glimmer trern- 



158 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



bled before Yalensolle's eyes, while an aromatic odor, 
filling the mephitic atmosphere of the vault, rejoiced his 
nostrils. 

" Ah," he said, "upon my word, we are in a barn ! I 
like that better." 

Morgan did not reply. He helped his companion to 
leave the vault, and allowed the stone to fall back again. 

Valensolle looked around him. He was in the centre of 
a vast building filled with hay, into which the light 
penetrated through windows which were so admirably 
modelled that they could not be those of a barn. " Then," 
said Valensolle, " we are not in a barn 1 " 

" Climb up on this hay, and go and sit down near that 
window," replied Morgan. 

Valensolle obeyed ; and climbing upon the hay like a 
schoolboy, he went, as Morgan had told him, and sat 
down near the window. A moment later Morgan had put 
between his friend's knees a napkin, a pie, some bread, a 
bottle of wine, two glasses, and two knives and forks. 

" Upon my word ! " said Valensolle, " Lucullus sups 
with Lucullus." Then looking through the window-panes 
upon a building pierced with a quantity of windows, 
which seemed to be a part of the one where the two 
friends were, and before which an officer was walking, he 
said : " I shall certainly not enjoy my supper unless I 
know where we are. What is that building, and why 
does that officer walk up and down before the door 1 " 

"Well," said Morgan, "since you are absolutely deter- 
mined, I will tell you. We are in the church of Brou, 
which a decree of the council has converted into a store- 
house for forage. That building near us is the barracks 
of the armed police, and that officer is a sentinel charged 
with seeing that nobody disturbs us during our supper, 
and that no one surprises us while we sleep." 



THE CAVE OF CEYZER1AT. 



159 



" Nice officer ! " said Yaleusolle, filling his glass ; " to 
his health, Morgan ! " 

"And to ours/' said the young man, laughing. "Not 
even the devil will have an idea of looking for us here." 

Scarcely had Morgan emptied his glass, when, as if the 
devil had accepted the defiance which had been offered 
him, they heard the harsh voice of the sentinel crying. 
" Who goes there 1 " 

" Ah ! " said the two young men, " what does that 
mean 1 " 

In fact, a troop of thirty men had just come from the 
direction of Pont-d'Ain, and after having exchanged the 
password with the sentinel had separated, the greater part 
of them, led by two men who seemed to be officers, enter- 
ing the barracks, and the rest continuing along the road. 

" Attention ! " said Morgan ; and both of them on 
their knees, listening intently, with their eyes fastened 
upon the window-pane, watched and waited. 

Let us explain to the reader the cause of the interrup- 
tion of a meal which, at three o'clock in the morning, 
should have been a perfectly peaceful one. 



160 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

AN EMPTY BUSH. 

The turnkey's daughter had not been mistaken ; it was 
indeed Eoland whom she had seen talking to the captain 
of police. Amelie had nothing to fear on her own account ; 
he was only seeking for traces of Morgan. His reason for 
staying away from the Chateau of Noires-Fontaines was 
not because he suspected that his sister had any particular 
interest in the chief of the companions of Jehu, but be- 
cause he was afraid of some indiscretion among the ser- 
vants. He had recognized Charlotte at her father's house, 
but as she had manifested no astonishment he had be- 
lieved that she did not recognize him ; and after exchang- 
ing a few words with the quartermaster, he had gone to 
wait for him on the Place du Bastion, entirely deserted at 
that hour. When he had finished his accounts, the cap- 
tain had joined him there, and had found Roland walking 
up and down, impatiently awaiting him. At the prison 
Roland had contented himself with making his personality 
known ; now he entered into details. He therefore in- 
formed the captain of the object of his journey. 

Just as in public assemblies men ask the promise of a 
personal favor, and obtain it without dispute, Roland had 
asked of the First Consul, also as a personal favor, that 
the pursuit of the companions of Jehu might be confided 
to him ; and he had obtained the favor without difficulty. 
An order from the minister of war put at his disposal the 
garrisons, not only of Bourg, but also of the neighboring 



AN EMPTY BUSH. 



1G1 



towns. An order from the minister of police commanded 
the officers of the police force to uphold him in every pos- 
sible way. He had naturally thought first of coming to 
the captain of the police of Bourg, whom he had known 
for a long time, and whom he knew to be a man of cour- 
age and executive ability. 

Roland had found what he wanted. The captain of the 
police of Bourg was deeply incensed against the compan- 
ions of Jehu, who stopped diligences at a quarter of a 
league from the city, and yet eluded him completely. He 
knew of the reports which had upon the last three occa- 
sions been sent to the minister of police, and he under- 
stood the ill-humor of the latter. But Roland added the 
final straw to his astonishment when he told him what 
had taken place in the monastery of Seillon, on the night 
he had watched there, and above all what had happened 
on the following night to Sir John in the same monastery. 
The captain had heard through public report that Mine, 
de Montrevel's guest had been poniarded, but as no one 
had made any complaint he had felt that he had no right 
to pierce the obscurity in which it had seemed to him 
Roland chose to allow the who]e thing to be wrapped. In 
those troubled times the armed force granted indulgences 
which they would not have permitted in times of peace. 
As for Roland, he had said nothing about it, preferring 
to pursue in his own time and manner the inhabitants of 
the monastery, whether ghosts or assassins. Now he had 
arrived with every facility for putting his designs into ex- 
ecution, and he was resolved not to return to the First 
Consul without accomplishing the deed. 

Moreover, this was the kind of an adventure which Ro- 
land liked best. Was it not both dangerous and pic- 
turesque 1 Was there not here a chance to play his life 
against that of people who, not sparing their own, would 

VOL/ II. — 11 



162 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



probably not spare his 1 Roland was far from attributing 
to its true cause the good fortune with which he had es- 
caped harm on the night he had passed in the monastery, 
and on the day he had fought Cadoudal. How was he to 
suppose that a simple cross had been placed against his 
name, and that at two hundred leagues' distance this sign 
of redemption had protected him at the two extremities 
of France? 

The first thing to be done was to surround the monastery 
of Seillon, and to search its most secret recesses ; and .Ro- 
land thought himself now perfectly in a position to do this. 
But the night was already so far advanced that this expe- 
dition could not take place until the following night. In 
the mean time Roland concealed himself in the barracks 
of the armed force, so that no one in Bourg suspected 
either his presence or the cause of it. On the following 
night he was to guide the expedition. One of the men, 
who was a tailor, made a complete quartermaster's costume 
for him ; he would pass as a member of the brigade of 
Lons-le-Saulnier ; and thanks to this uniform, he could, 
without being recognized, direct the search in the monas- 
tery. Everything was done as had been arranged. About 
one o'clock Roland went to the barracks with the captain, 
went up to the latter's room, arranged a camp-bed there, 
and slept in it as only a man can do who has passed two 
days and nights in a post-chaise. 

On the next day Roland whiled away the time by 
making, for the quartermaster's instruction, a plan of the 
monastery of Seillon ; by the aid of which, even without 
Roland's help, that worthy officer could have directed the 
expedition without once losing his way. As the captain 
had only eighteen soldiers under him, and as this was 
not enough completely to surround the monastery, or 
rather to guard the two entrances and search the interior : 



AN EMPTY BUSH. 



163 



and as it would take two or three days to assemble the 
rest of the scattered brigade and get the necessary number 
of men, — the captain, by Eoland's order, went during 
the day to inform the colonel of dragoons, whose regiment 
was in garrison at Bourg, of what they were about to do, 
and to ask for twelve men, which with the captain's eigh- 
teen would make a total of thirty. 

The colonel not only granted the twelve men, but, learn- 
ing that the expedition was to be directed by the brigadier- 
general Eoland de Montrevel, aide-de-camp of the First 
Consul, he declared that he would like to be of the party 
also, and that he would lead his twelve men. Eoland ac- 
cepted his offer ; and it was agreed that the colonel and 
his twelve dragoons should stop for Eoland, the captain, 
and their eighteen armed policemen, the barracks being 
directly on the road to the monastery of Seillon. The 
hour of departure was fixed for eleven o'clock. 

At eleven o'clock precisely, the colonel and his twelve 
men joined the police ; and the two troops, united in one, 
started on their march. Eoland, in his costume of quarter- 
master, revealed his identity to the colonel of dragoons ; 
but for the dragoons themselves, as well as for the police, 
he was, as had been agreed, a quartermaster of the brigade 
of Lons-le-Saulnier. But as it would not have appeared 
natural that a stranger to that part of the country should 
be familliar with the localities to the extent of acting as 
guide, they were told that in his youth Eoland had been 
a novice at Seillon, and that he was therefore, better than 
any one else, capable of acting as guide through the most 
mysterious detours of the monastery. The first sentiment 
of these brave soldiers had been one of mortification at 
being led by an ex-monk ; but after a while, seeing that the 
ex-monk seemed fairly accustomed to his three-cornered 
hat, and that his manner was that of a man who while 



164 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



wearing the uniform had apparently forgotten that he had 
ever worn a monk's robe, they had finally swallowed their 
humiliation, reserving their definite opinion until they saw 
how the quartermaster handled the musket which he car- 
ried on his arm, the pistols which he wore at his belt, and 
the sword which hung at his side. 

They were provided with torches, and they began their 
march in the most profound silence, and in three divis- 
ions, — one of eight men, commanded by the captain of 
police; one of ten men, commanded by the colonel; and 
one of twelve, commanded by Eoland. When they left 
the city, they separated. The captain of police, knowing 
the localities better than the colonel of dragoons, agreed 
to guard the window of the Correrie which looked out 
over the forest of Seillon ; he had eight policemen with 
him. The colonel of dragoons was charged by Roland to 
guard the great door of the monastery. He had with him 
five dragoons and five gendarmes. Roland undertook to 
search the interior ; he had with him five gendarmes and 
seven dragoons. A half-hour was given to each detach- 
ment to reach its post, which was more than was required. 
As half-past eleven was sounding from the church of 
PeVonnaz, Roland and his men were to scale the orchard 
wall. 

The captain of police followed the road from Pont-d'Ain 
to the edge of the forest, and, going along its border, 
gained the position which had been assigned to him. The 
colonel of dragoons took the cross-road which led off from 
the Point-d'Ain road, and which went to the great door 
of the monastery. Roland went across fields, and thus 
reached the wall of the monastery, which he had already 
climbed twice under other circumstances. 

As half-past eleven struck, Roland gave the signal to 
his men, and scaled the orchard wall, followed by soldiers 



AN EMPTY BUSH. 



165 



and police. When they had reached the other side of the 
wall, although they did not know whether Roland was 
brave, they at least knew that he was agile. Roland 
showed them in the darkness the door towards which they 
were to direct their steps ; it was that which entered the 
cloister from the orchard. Then he was the first to push 
through the tall grass, to open the door and enter the 
cloister. All was dark, silent, solitary. Roland, still at 
the head of his men, reached the refectory. Everywhere 
solitude and silence. He entered the vaulted passage, and 
reached the garden, without having alarmed any living 
thing save the owls and bats. 

There remained the pit, or cistern, the burial vaults, and 
the pavilion, or rather forest-chapel. Roland crossed 
the empty space which separated them from the cistern. 
When he had reached the lowest step he lighted three 
torches ; keeping one, he handed one to a policeman and 
another to a dragoon ; then he raised the stone which con- 
cealed the stairs. The gendarmes who followed Roland 
began to think he was as brave as he was agile. They 
passed through the subterranean corridor, and came to the 
first gate ; it was shut, but not fastened. They entered 
the burial vault. There they found more than solitude 
and silence, — they found the dead. The bravest felt a 
shiver pass through them. Roland went from tomb to 
tomb, striking them with the butt-end of the pistol which 
he held in his hand; all were silent. They crossed 
the burial vaults, went through the second gate, and 
reached the chapel. The same silence, the same solitude ; 
everything was deserted, and to all appearances had been 
so for years. Roland went straight to the choir ; he saw 
again the blood upon the stones ; no one had taken the 
trouble to efface it. 

The search ended there, and the result was — nothing. 



166 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Roland could not make up his mind to retreat. He 
thought that possibly he had not been attacked because 
of his numerous escort ; he therefore left ten men and a 
torch in the chapel, charging them to communicate through 
the ruined window with the captain of police, who was 
concealed in the forest a few steps away from the window, 
and with two men he retraced his steps. This time, the 
two men who followed Roland thought him not only 
brave but reckless. But Roland, not caring whether he 
were accompanied at all, followed his own trail, in default 
of that of the bandits. The two men were ashamed not 
to come also. 

There could be no doubt that the monastery was 
abandoned. 

When he came to the great door, Roland called to the 
colonel of dragoons ; he and his ten men were at their post. 
Roland opened the door and joined them. They had 
neither seen nor heard anything. They re-entered all 
together, shutting and barricading the door behind them to 
cut off the retreat of the bandits, if they should have the 
good luck to meet them. Then they went to rejoin their 
companions, who had already called the captain of police 
and his eight men. They were all waiting in the choir. 

They were obliged to decide to retreat ; two o'clock had 
just struck; they had been searching for nearly three 
hours, without the least result. Roland, who was com- 
pletely reinstated in the opinion of the police and dragoons, 
gave, to his own great regret, the signal for retreat, by open- 
ing the chapel door, which looked out upon the forest. This 
time, as they no longer hoped to find any one, Roland con- 
tented himself with merely shutting it behind him. Then, 
at a quickened pace, the little troop took the road to 
Bourg. The captain of police, his eighteen men, and 
Roland entered the barracks, after making themselves 



AN EMPTY BUSH. 



167 



known to the sentinel. The colonel of dragoons and his 
twelve men continued on their way and entered the city. 

It was the sentinel's cry which had attracted the atten- 
tion of Morgan and Yalensolle ; it was the entrance of 
the eighteen men into the barracks which had interrupted 
their meal ; and it was this unexpected occurrence which 
had made Morgan say, " Attention ! " In fact, in the 
situation in which the two young men found themselves, 
everything merited attention ; therefore the meal was in- 
terrupted, and their jaws ceased to work, in order to allow 
their eyes and ears to fulfil their office to the fullest ex- 
tent. It was soon evident that their eyes alone would be 
occupied. 

Each of the police gained his room without using a 
light ; nothing drew the attention of the two young men 
to the numerous windows of the barracks, so that it was 
concentrated upon one point. Among all the darkened 
windows, two only were illuminated ; they were at right 
angles to the rest of the building, and exactly opposite 
the one at which the two young men were taking their 
meal. These windows were on the first floor ; but in the 
position which they occupied, on the top of the bundles 
of forage, Morgan and Yalensolle found themselves not 
only on a level, but above them. They were those of the 
captain of police. Whether from the brave captain's care- 
lessness, or from the penury of the State, there were no 
curtains to the windows ; so that, thanks to the two can- 
dles lighted by the officer in honor of his guest, Morgan 
and Valensolle could see all that passed in the lighted 
room. 

Suddenly Morgan seized Valensolle's arm tightly. 
" Well," said Valensolle, " what 's the news ? " 
Eoland had just thrown his three-cornered hat on a 
chair, and Morgan had recognized him. " Eoland de Mon- 



168 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



trevel ! " he said ; "Roland, in a quartermaster's uniform ! 
This time we are on his track, while he cannot find ours. 
We must not lose it." 

" What are you going to do V asked Valensolle, feeling 
that his companion was moving away from him. 

" I am going to warn my companions. Stay here, and 
do not lose sight of him ; he is taking off his sword and 
putting down his pistols, so it is probable that he will 
pass the night in the captain's room. To-morrow I defy 
him to take any road, no matter what, without having one 
of us at his heels." 

And Morgan, slipping down over the forage, disap- 
peared from the eyes of his companion, who, crouching 
down like a sphinx, did not lose sight of Roland de 
Montrevel. 

A quarter of an hour later, when Morgan came back, 
the officer's windows were as dark as those of all the rest 
of the building. 

" Well 1 " asked Morgan. 

" Well," replied Valensolle, " the thing ended in the 
most prosaic manner possible ; they undressed, blew out 
the candles, and went to bed, — the captain on his own 
bed, and Roland on a cot ; and they are probably by this 
time snoring lustily." 

"In that case," said Morgan, "good-night to them and 
to us also." 

Ten minutes later the two young men were sleeping as 
calmly as if they did not have danger for a bed-fellow. 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 169 



CHAPTEE XIV. 

THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 

The same day, about six o'clock in the morning, in the 
cold dawn of one of the last days in February, a horse- 
man, spurring a post-horse, and preceded by a postilion 
who was to bring back the horse, left Bourg by the Macon 
or St.-Jullien road. We say by the Macon or St.-Jullien 
road, because at about a league from the capital of Bresse 
the road forks, and offers two directions, — one going to 
the right, to St.-Jullien, and the other leading to the left, 
to Macon. When he reached the fork of the tw r o roads, 
the traveller was about to take the one leading to Macon, 
when a voice which seemed to come from beneath an over- 
turned wagon called for help. The horseman ordered the 
postilion to see what was the matter. 

A poor kitchen-gardener was held there under his cart. 
He was probably trying to lift it when the wheel, sinking 
into the ditch, had overturned the cart ; the latter had 
rolled over upon him, but in such a way that he said he 
believed no bones were broken, and that he only needed a 
little help with the cart, when, he thought, he would be 
all right again. The horseman felt so much sympathy for 
the unfortunate gardener that he not only allowed the 
postilion to stop and extricate him from his dilemma, but 
lie even dismounted himself, and with a strength which 
was hardly to be expected from a man of medium height 
he helped the postilion not only to right the cart, but to 



170 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



put it back again in the middle of the road, — after which 
he offered to help the man to get up. But that individual 
had spoken the truth ; he was not at all hurt, and if his 
limbs wavered a little, it only proved the truth of the 
proverb which declares that there is a special God for 
drunkards. The gardener was profuse in his thanks, as 
he took his horse by the bridle ; but it was easy to see 
that he clung to it as much to sustain himself as to guide 
the horse on the right road. The two horsemen remounted, 
urged their horses to a gallop, and soon disappeared around 
the turn in the road which comes just before the forest of 
Monnet is reached. 

But they had scarcely disappeared when there was a 
curious change in the vegetable merchant. He stopped his 
horse, stood erect, carried a small trumpet to his lips, and 
blew upon it thrice. A groom emerged from the woods 
which bordered the road, leading a horse by the bridle. 
The gardener rapidly pulled off his blouse, threw down 
his coarse linen pantaloons, and stood revealed in vest 
and small-clothes of buckskin and top-boots. He fumbled 
in his wagon, and drew out a package which he opened ; 
he shook out a green hunting-coat trimmed with gold 
braid, put it on, drew over it a chestnut-colored riding- 
coat, took from the groom's hands a hat which compared 
with his elegant costume, fitted spurs to his boots, and 
leaping upon his horse with the skill and lightness of a 
skilful rider, said to the groom, — 

" This evening, at seven o'clock, go to the road between 
St.-Just and Ceyzeriat ; you will meet Morgan there, and 
will tell him that the one whom he knows is going to 
Macon, but that I shall be there before him." 

Then, without paying any attention to the vegetable 
cart, which he left to his servant's care, the ex-gardener, 
who was none other than our old acquaintance Montbar, 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. ' 



171 



turned his horse's head towards the little forest of Monnet, 
and set off at a gallop. 

Roland was riding a post-horse, but the animal which 
Montbar rode was an excellent hunter, and therefore he 
soon overtook and passed the two horsemen. The horse, 
except for a short halt at St.-Cyr-sur-Menthon, made 
the nine or ten leagues between Bourg and Macon without 
stopping, and in less than three hours. 

When he reached Macon, Montbar dismounted at the 
Hotel de la Poste, the only one, at that period, which had 
the reputation of entertaining travellers of distinction. 
By the manner in which Montbar was received at the 
hotel it was evident that he was well acquainted with 
the host. 

" Ah, is it you, Monsieur de Jayat ? " said the latter ; 
" we were wondering yesterday what had become of you ; 
it is more than a month since we have seen you." 

" Is it as long as that! " asked the young man ; " upon 
my word, you are right. I have been with friends, the 
Trefforts and Hautecourts. You know them by name, do 
you not 1 " 

" Oh, both by name and personally." 

" We went hunting. They have some fine horses. But 
are you going to have any breakfast here this morning 1 " 

''Certainly." 

u Well, then, let them bring me a chicken, a bottle of 
Bordeaux wine, a couple of cutlets, and some fruit, or any 
little thing." 

" Instantly. Will you have it in your own room, or in 
the common dining-room 1 " 

" In the dining-room ; it is more amusing. But give 
me a table to myself. Ah, and do not forget my horse ; 
he is an excellent beast, and I think more of him than I 
do of some Christians." 



172 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



The host gave his orders, and Montbar placed himself 
before the mirror, settled his coat-collar, and warmed the 
calves of his legs. " Have you always kept this hotel 1 " 
he asked the landlord, apparently for the sake of keeping 
up conversation. 

" Yes, indeed." 

" Then you supply the diligences with horses 1 " 

" Not the diligences, but the mail-coaches." 

"Ah, by the way, I must go to Chambery one of these 
days. How many places are there in the mail-coach 1 " 

" Three ; two inside, and one with the courier." 

"And have I any chance of finding a place free 1 ?" 

" Sometimes you might possibly find one ; but the 
surest way is to have a carriage of your own." 

" Then it is not possible to engage a place in advance 1 " 

" No ; for you will understand, Monsieur Jayat, that if 
there were two travellers who had taken their places from 
Paris to Lyons, they would rank before you." 

" Aristocrats, you see," said Montbar, laughing. " A 
pi'opos of aristocrats, there was one on the road behind 
me, on a post-horse ; I passed him a quarter of a league 
from Polliat, and it looked to me as though his horse was 
rather broken winded." 

" Oh, I dare say," said the landlord; "my brother inn- 
keepers are apt to have poor horses." 

" There he is, now," said Montbar ; " I thought I had 
more the start of him than that." 

In fact, Eoland passed the windows just then at a 
gallop, and entered the courtyard. 

"Do you care to have room No. 1, as usual, sir?" 
asked the landlord. 

"Why do you ask?" 

" Because it is the best room in the house ; and if you 
do not take it, I will give it to the gentleman who has 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 



173 



just come, if he is going to stay any length of time with 
us." 

" Oh, do not disturb your arrangements for me ; I do 
not know yet whether I shall go or stay. If the new ar- 
rival is going to stay, give him No. 1. I shall be satisfied 
with No. 2." 

" Breakfast is ready," announced the servant, from the 
doorway between the kitchen and dining-room. 

Montbar nodded his head, and accepted the invitation 
thus extended to him • he entered the dining-room just as 
Roland was coming into the house. The table was ready 
set j Montbar changed his plate to the side, and sat down 
with his back to the door. But the precaution was use- 
less ; Roland did not enter the dining-room, and Montbar 
finished his breakfast without being disturbed. At des- 
sert the landlord himself came to bring him his coffee. 
Montbar understood by this that the worthy man was in- 
clined to talk, and this suited him perfectly, for there were 
several things which he wanted to know. 

" Well," began Montbar, " what has become of our man 1 
Did he only stay long enough to change his horse ? " 

" No," replied the landlord ; "as you said, he is an aris- 
tocrat ; he ordered breakfast to be served in his own 
room." 

" In his room, or in my room ? " asked Montbar, " for I 
am very sure that you have given him the famous 
No. 1." 

"And if I have, Monsieur Jayat, it is your fault; you 
told me that I might dispose of it." 

" And if you took me at my word, you did right ; I 
shall be perfectly contented with No. 2." 

" Oh, you will not like it at all. The room is separated 
from No. 1 only by a thin partition, and everything that 
is said or done in one room can be heard in the other." 



174 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Ah, my dear sir, do you think I came here to sing 
seditious songs, that you are afraid some one will hear 
what I say or do 1 " 

"Oh, it is not that." 

" What is it, then 1 " 

" I am not afraid that you will disturb the others, but 
that you will be disturbed by them." 

" Ah, is your young friend a noisy fellow % " 

" No, but he looks to me like an officer." 

" What can have made you think so ? " 

" In the first place, his figure ; then he asked about the 
regiment in garrison at Macon, and when I told him it 
was the seventh Mounted Chasseurs, he said, 'Ah, I know 
the chief of brigade ; he is one of my friends. Perhaps 
your servant will carry my card to him, and ask if he will 
come and breakfast with me.' " 

" Ah ! " 

"And as you know, when two officers get together, they 
are apt to be noisy. Perhaps they will want dinner and 
supper as well as breakfast." 

" I have already told you that I hardly hope to have the 
pleasure in passing the night with you ; I expect, by the 
poste restante, letters from Paris, which will decide my 
movements. In the mean time light a fire for me in room 
No. 2, making as little noise as possible, in order not to 
disturb my neighbor ; and at the same time, send me up 
pen, ink, and paper ; I have some writing to do." 

Montbar's orders were punctually executed, and he fol- 
lowed the servant upstairs in order to make sure that Po- 
land was not disturbed by his proximity. The room was 
exactly as the landlord had said, and not a movement 
could be made or a word spoken in one of them that was 
not heard in the other. Thus Montbar had no difficulty 
in hearing the hotel-boy announce to Poland the ar- 



THE H6TEL DE LA POSTE. 



175 



rival of the chief of brigade Saint-Maurice, and, follow- 
ing the heavy step of the latter in the passage, the excla- 
mations uttered by the two friends, who were delighted to 
see each other. 

For his part, Roland, who had been for a moment dis- 
turbed by the noise in the adjoining room, had forgotten 
it as soon as it ceased, and there was no danger that it 
would be renewed. Montbar, when he was once alone, 
seated himself at a table upon which were placed pen, ink, 
and paper, and remained motionless. The two officers 
had formerly known each other in Italy, and Roland had 
served under Saint-Maurice when the latter had been a 
captain, and Roland only a lieutenant. To-day their ranks 
were equal ; and besides, Roland bearing a double com- 
mission from the chief consul and from the prefect of 
police, commanded the officers of his own rank, and 
even within the limits of his mission, those of a higher 
rank. 

Morgan was not mistaken in supposing that Amelie's 
brother was in pursuit of the companions of Jehu ; if the 
nocturnal search in the monastery of Seillon had not 
proved it, the proof was amply furnished by the conver- 
sation of the young officer with his colleague. In sub- 
stance it was as follows : The First Consul was to send 
fifty thousand francs, ostensibly as a gift to the fathers of 
Saint Bernard, but in reality to serve as a decoy with 
which to catch the diligence robbers, if they were not sur- 
prised in the monastery of Seillon, or in some other re- 
treat. The details of the plan remained to be settled. 
While they breakfasted, the subject was discussed at 
length by the two officers. At dessert they had agreed 
upon a plan. 

The same evening Morgan received the following 
letter : — 



176 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



As we told Adler, next Wednesday at five o'clock in the 
evening, the mail-coach will leave for Paris with fifty thousand 
francs destined for the fathers of Saint Bernard. 

The three seats in the coach — the one in the coupe and the 
two inside — are already engaged by three travellers, who will 
take the coach, the first at Sens, and the other two at Tonnerre. 
These travellers will he, the one in the coupe one of the brav- 
est agents of citizen Fouche, and in the inside M. Roland de 
Montrevel and the chief of brigade of the Seventh Chasseurs, 
in garrison at Macon. They will be in citizen's clothes in 
order to avert suspicion, but will be armed to the teeth. 
Twelve chasseurs on horseback, with muskets, pistols, and 
sabres, will act as escort to the coach, but at a distance, and in 
such a way as to arrive in the midst of the fight. The first 
shot will be a signal to them to put spurs to their horses and 
to fall upon the robbers. 

Now, my advice is that in spite of all these precautions, or 
rather on account of them, the attack shall take place at the 
spot agreed upon, — the Maison Blanche. If the Companions 
agree with me, let me know ; I will be the postilion to drive 
the coach from Macon to Belleville. I will take care of the 
chief of brigade, and one of you must do the same for the 
agent of citizen Fouche. As for M. Roland de Montrevel, I 
will take care that no harm comes to him, by means of an in- 
vention of my own, which will prevent him from leaving the 
coach. 

The precise hour at which the mail-coach will pass the 
Maison Blanche will be at six o'clock on the evening of Satur- 
day. A single line in reply, in these words : " Saturday, at 
six o'clock in the evening," and all will go smoothly. 

Montbar. 

At midnight, Montbar, who had complained of the noise 
made by his neighbor, and had been removed to a room 
at the other extremity of the hotel, was awakened by a 
messenger, who was no other than the groom who had 
brought him a ready saddled horse on the road. 

The letter was as follows : — 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 



177 



Saturday, at six o'clock in the evening. 

Morgan. 

P. S. Do not forget, even in the midst of the fight, and 
above all in the midst of the fight, that the life of M. Eoland 
de Montrevel is protected by a safeguard. 

The young man read this reply joyfully ; this was not a 
simple stopping of a diligence, but it was an affair of 
honor between persons of different opinions, — a meeting 
of brave men. It was not merely gold which was to be 
shed upon the high road, but blood. This was not an 
affair of pistols without balls, belonging to the conductor 
and held in the hand of a child ; it was a matter of deadly 
weapons in the grasp of soldiers who were in the habit of 
using them. 

They had the whole of the day which was just break- 
ing, and the next also, in which to make arrangements. 
Montbar contented himself therefore with asking the man 
to ascertain the name of the postilion who at five o'clock 
took the coach at Macon, and made the stage, or rather two 
stages, between Macon and Belleville. He told the man 
also to buy four screw-eyes and two padlocks. He already 
knew that the coach arrived at Macon at half- past four, 
stayed there for dinner, and left again at five precisely. 

Montbar's arrangements were evidently all made in ad- 
vance, for when he had given these orders to his servant, 
lie dismissed him, and went to sleep like a man who has 
large arrears of slumber to make up. The next day he did 
not awake, or at least did not leave his room, until nine 
o'clock in the morning. He openly asked the landlord 
for news of his noisy neighbor. The traveller had gone 
away at six o'clock in the morning by the mail-coach from 
Lyons to Paris, with his friend the chief of brigade; and 
the landlord believed that they had only taken their 
places as far as Tonnerre. 
VOL. II. -— 12 



178 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Furthermore, the young officer, in his turn, had made 
inquiries concerning M. de Jayat, — asking who he was, 
whether he was in the habit of coming to the hotel, and 
whether he would be likely to be willing to sell his horse. 
The landlord had replied that he knew M. de Jayat per- 
fectly well ; that he was in the habit of staying at the 
hotel whenever business brought him to Macon ; and that 
as for his horse, he did not believe, judging from the gen- 
tleman's evident fondness for the animal, he would consent 
to part with him at any price, — upon which the traveller 
had gone away without saying anything more about it. 

After breakfast, M. de Jayat, who seemed to have 
nothing in particular to do, had his horse saddled, 
mounted it, and rode out of Macon on the road to Lyons. 
While he was in the city, he allowed his horse to take 
any pace that elegant animal preferred ; but once away 
from the place, he gathered up the reins and pressed his 
knees against the horse's sides. The signal was enough ; 
the horse started off at a gallop. Montbar crossed the vil- 
lages of Varennes and de la Creche and the Chapelle de 
Guinchay, and did not stop until he reached the Maison 
Blanche. Yalensolle had described the place correctly, 
and it was particularly well chosen for an ambuscade. 

The Maison Blanche was situated at the bottom of a 
little valley, between a descent and a rise ; at the corner 
of its garden was a little brook which emptied into the 
Saone at Challe. Tall, thick trees followed the course of 
the little river, and describing a half-circle, surrounded the 
house. As for the house itself, it had formerly been an 
inn; but the inn-keeper had not been successful at the 
business, and the house had been shut up for seven or 
eight years, and had begun to fall into ruins. Coming 
from Macon, the road made a turn just before it reached 
the house. 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 



179 



Montbar examined the locality with the care of a gen- 
eral charged with choosing a battlefield, and drawing out 
a pencil and piece of paper from his pocket, made an 
exact plan of the situation. Then he returned to Macon. 

Two hours later the groom set out, carrying the plan to 
Morgan, and leaving with his master the name of the 
postilion who was to drive the coach ; it was Antoine. 
The groom had also purchased the four screw-eyes and the 
two padlocks. 

Montbar ordered a bottle of Burgundy wine, and asked 
for Antoine. Ten minutes later the man entered. He 
was tall and good-looking, about twenty-five years old, and 
about Montbar's height, which the latter, after scruti- 
nizing him from head to foot, observed with satisfaction. 
The postilion stopped upon the threshold, and putting 
his hand to his hat after the manner of a soldier 
asked, — 

" Did the citizen send for me 1 " 

" Is your name Antoine % " asked Montbar. 

" At your service, if you think fit." 

" Well, yes, my man, you can serve me. Shut the door 
and come here." 

Antoine shut the door, and coming close to Montbar, 
said, while he carried his hand to his hat again: "Here I 
am, Master." 

" In the first place," said Montbar, " if you don't mind, 
we will drink to the health of your mistress." 

u Oh," said Antoine, "to my mistress ! Do you think 
people like us have mistresses 1 That is for great lords 
like you." 

" Come, now," said Montbar, "with good looks like 
yours, you needn't try to make me believe that." 

" Oh, I don't set up to be a monk. Perhaps there are 
some pretty girls along the way." 



180 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



"Yes, in some wine-shop. That is why we stop so 
often on the way home to drink a little drop or to smoke 
our pipe." 

" Oh," said Antoine, with an indescribable movement 
of his shoulders, "if you will have your little joke ! " 

" Well, taste this wine, my boy. I '11 answer for it 
you will find it pretty good." And taking up one full 
glass, Montbar motioned to the postilion to take the 
other. 

" It is a great honor for me. To your health and that 
of your company." 

This was a favorite phrase with the postilion, and was 
with him only a form of politeness, which did not at all 
demand the existence of a company. 

"Ah, yes," he said, smacking his lips after he had 
drunk ifc, " that is an old gray-beard, and here I swal- 
lowed it as if it had been an infant, without even 
tasting it." 

" That was wrong, Antoine." 

" Yes, indeed, it was a mistake." 

"But, luckily," said Montbar, pouring out a second 
glassful, " it is a mistake which can be rectified." 

" No higher than my thumb, citizen," said the facetious 
postilion, holding out his glass, and taking care that his 
thumb came up to the edge. 

" Wait a minute," said Montbar, just as Antoine was 
about to carry the wine to his mouth. 

"You were just in time," said the postilion ; "it was 
almost gone, the rascal ! What is it 1 " 

" You would not allow me to drink to the health of 
your mistress, but you surely will not refuse to drink to 
mine 1 " 

" Oh, that is not to be refused, especially with such 
wine as this. To the health of your mistress and her com- 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 



181 



pany ! " And Antoine swallowed the red liquor, taking- 
care to taste it well as he did so. 

" There ! " said Montbar, " you were in too much of a 
hurry that time, too." 

"Bah !" said the postilion. 

" Yes ; suppose I have several mistresses ; if we speak 
no name, how is it going to do this one any good for us to 
drink her health?" 

" Upon my word, that 's true ! " 

' ' It is a pity, but we shall have to begin again, my 
friend." 

" Ah, let us begin again ! With a man like you, we 
must do things right ; if we have made a mistake, let us 
try again." And Antoine held out his glass, which Mont- 
bar filled to the brim. " Now," said Antoine, glancing at 
the bottle, and assuring himself that it was empty, u we 
must not make any more mistakes. What is her name % " 

" To the beautiful Josephine ! " said Montbar. 

" To the beautiful Josephine ! " repeated Antoine ; and 
he swallowed the Burgundy with ever increasing satisfac- 
tion. Then, after having wiped his sleeve across his lips, 
he exclaimed, as he put his glass down upon the table ; 
" Here ! wait a moment." 

"What!" said Montbar, "is there something wrong 
now 1 ?" 

" I should think so ! We have made a bad business of 
it, but it is too late now." 
« Why ? " 

" The bottle is empty." 

" This one is, yes, but not that one ; " and Montbar took 
from the corner of the fireplace a bottle already opened. 

"Ah ! " exclaimed Antoine, his face lighting up with a 
radiant smile. 

" Is there any help for it 1 " asked Montbar. 



182 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" There is," said Antoine ; and he held out his glass. 
Montbar filled it as faithfully as he had done thrice 
before. 

" Well," said the postilion, holding the sparkling ruby 
liquid . to the light, " I said that we had drunk to the 
health of the beautiful Josephine — " 

" Yes," said Montbar. 

" But, " continued Antoine, " there are any quantity 
of Josephines in France." 

" That 's true ; how many do you suppose there are, 
Antoine 1 " 

" There are as many as a hundred thousand." 
"Very likely; well?" 

" Well, out of those hundred thousand there are not 
more than a tenth that are beautiful." 
" That is a large proportion." 
" Let us put it at a twentieth." 
"Well?" 

"That makes five thousand." 

" What a devil of a fellow you are for arithmetic, 
Antoine." 

" I am the son of a schoolmaster." 
"Weill" 

" Well, to which one out of those five thousand have 
we drunk 1 Ah ! " 

" Upon my word, you are right, Antoine. We must 
add the surname to the baptismal name. To the beautiful 
Josephine — Wait ! we have begun upon this glass ; 
that won't do. To make the health a good one, we should 
empty it and fill it up again." 

Antoine carried the glass to his mouth. " There, it is 
empty," he said. 

"And here it is filled up," added Montbar, putting the 
bottle to it. 



THE HOTEL DE LA POSTE. 



183 



" Now I am waiting ; to the beautiful Josephine — " 
" To the beautiful Josephine — Lollier ! " And Montbar 
emptied his glass. 

" Why," said Antoine, "I know her ! " 
" 1 did not say you did not." 

"Josephine Lollier is the daughter of the master of 
post-horses at Belleville." 
"Exactly." 

" Well," said the postilion, " your taste is not to be de- 
spised, citizen. A pretty slip of a girl ! to the health of 
the beautiful Josephine Lollier ! " And he swallowed his 
fifth glass of Burgundy. 

" Well, now," said Montbar, " do you know why I 
asked you to come up here, my boy 1 " 

" No ; but I don't bear you any ill-will for it." 

" That 's very good of you." 

" Oh, I am a good fellow." 

" Well, I am going to tell you why I sent for you." 
"Iam all attention." 

" Wait ! I fancy you can hear better with a full glass 
than with an empty one." 

"'Have you ever doctored deaf people? " asked the pos- 
tilion, grinning. 

" No, but I have lived with drunkards," replied Mont- 
bar, filling Antoine's glass again. 

" Because a man likes wine, it does not make him a 
drunkard," said Antoine. 

"I agree with you, my friend," replied Montbar; "one 
is not a drunkard so long as he knows how to carry his 
wine." 

" Well said ! " replied Antoine, who seemed to carry his 
marvellously well, "lam listening." 

" You told me you did not know why I sent for you." 
" Yes." 



184 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" But you thought I must have some reason 1 " 

"The cure says that all men have an end in view, 
whether good or had/' replied Antoine, sententiously. 

"Well, mine, my friend," said Montbar, "is to goby 
night, without being recognized, into the courtyard o Mas- 
ter Nicolas Denis Lollier, master of the post at Belleville." 

"At Belleville," repeated Antoine, who was following 
Montbar's words with all the attention of which he was 
capable. "I understand; you want to get into Master 
Nicolas Denis Lollier's courtyard without being recognized, 
so that you may see the beautiful Josephine. Ah, you 
sly fellow ! " 

" You have got it, my dear Antoine ; and I wish to go 
there without being recognized, because Papa Lollier has 
discovered all, and has forbidden his daughter to receive 
me." 

" I see. And what do you want me to do 1 " 

" Your ideas are not very clear, Antoine ; drink this 
glass of wine to shine them up." 

"You are right," said Antoine; and he swallowed his 
sixth glass of wine. 

" And you want to know what you can do, Antoine ? " 

" Y r es, what can I do 1 That is what I said." 

"You can do everything, my friend." 

" You." 

"Ah, I am curious to know how. Clear my brains ! " 
And he held out his glass. 

" You are going to conduct the Chambery mail to- 
morrow 1 " 

" For awhile ; at six o'clock." 

" Well, supposing Antoine to be a good fellow — " 

" That is already supposed, for he is." 

" Well, this is what Antoine would do." 



THE HOTEL BE LA POSTE. 



185 



« What would he do?" 

" In the first place, he would empty his glass." 

" That is not difficult ; it is done." 

" Then he would take these ten louis." 

Montbar laid out ten louis in a line on the table. 

"Ah," said Antoine, "yellow boys! Eeally ? I 
thought the little devils had all emigrated." 

" You see there are some of them left." 

" And what would Antoine do, in order to put these 
into his pocket ? " 

" Antoine would lend me his prettiest postilion coat." 

" You ? " 

" And give me his place to-morrow night." 

" Eh ? Oh, yes, so that you could see the beautiful 
Josephine without being recognized ! " 

" See here ! I get to Belleville at eight o'clock ; I go 
into the court; I say that the horses are tired ; I let them 
rest until ten o'clock, and from eight o'clock until ten — " 

"I puzzle Papa Lollier for you." 

" Well, will you do it, Antoine?" 

"Yes; when one is young, one sympathizes with young 
folks ; when one gets old, one sympathizes with the 
papas." 

" Then, my fine Antoine, you will lend me your finest 
vest and most beautiful coat ? " 

"I have a vest and coat that I have never worn." 
" Will you give me your place? " 
"With pleasure." 

"And I will give you, first, these five louis as earnest 
money." 

" And the rest — " 

"To-morrow, when I put on your boots. But you 
must take one precaution." 
"What is it?" 



185 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" There is a great deal of talk about brigands who stop 
the diligences ; you must be sure and put holsters on your 
saddle." 

"What for?" 

" For me to stick pistols in." 

" Oh, come ! you are not going to do any harm to those 
brave young men V 

" What, do you call robbers of diligences brave young 
men 1 " 

" Bah ! They are not thieves because they steal govern- 
ment money." 

"Do you think so?" 

" Yes. indeed ; and so do a great many others. I know 
very well that if I was a judge I should not condemn 
them." 

" Perhaps you would drink to their health? " 
" I should have no objection, if the wine was good." 
" I dare you to do it," said Montbar, pouring into An- 
toine's glass all that remained of the second bottleful. 
" You know the proverb 1 " asked the postilion. 
" What one 1 " 

" You must not dare a fool to commit an act of folly. 
To the health of the companions of Jehu ! " 
" So be it," said Montbar. 

" And the five louis % " asked Antoine, putting the glass 
down on the table. 
" Here they are." 

" Thanks. You shall have holsters on your saddle ; 
but take my advice, and do not put any pistols in them ; 
or if you do, do as Father Jerome of the Geneva diligence 
did, — do not put any balls in your pistols." And with 
this philanthropical recommendation, the postilion took 
leave of Montbar, and went downstairs singing lustily. 



THE MAIL-COACH FOR CHAMB&IY. 



187 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE MAIL-COACH FOR CHAMBERY. 

The next day, at five o'clock in the evening, Antoine, in 
order not to be late, was harnessing in the courtyard of 
the Hotel de la Poste the three horses which were to draw 
the mail-coach. A moment afterwards the mail-coach 
came into the courtyard with the horses on a gallop, and 
stopped beneath the windows of a room which had seemed 
to interest Antoine. If any one had paid attention to 
such a little detail, he would have remarked that the 
curtain of the window was drawn aside almost impru- 
dently, in order to permit the person who was in the room 
to see who got out of the mail-coach. 

Three men descended, who with the haste of hungry 
travellers made their way towards the brilliantly lighted 
windows of the dining-room. Scarcely had they entered, 
when an elegant postilion came down the servants' stair- 
case. He had not yet put on his long boots, but wore 
thin ones instead, over which he intended to draw the 
others. He pulled on Antoine's great boots, slipped five 
louis into his hands, and then turned to allow him to throw 
over his shoulders his riding-coat, which the cold weather 
made a necessity. When this toilet was finished, Antoine 
returned slowly to the stables, where he hid himself in 
the darkest corner. 

As for the one to whom he had yielded his place, he 
was doubtless reassured by the height of the coat-collar 
which half concealed his face, for he went straight to the 



188 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



three horses which Antoine had already harnessed, slipped 
a pair of double-barrelled pistols into the holsters, and 
profiting by the solitary position of the mail-coach (since 
the horses had been led away and the postilion from 
Tournus had gone off), he inserted, by the aid of a sharp 
bodkin which might upon emergency become a dagger, 
his four screw-eyes in the mail-coach, — two in each door ; 
and two others opposite, in the body of the coach, — 
after which he began to put the horses into the shafts 
with a promptness and skill which indicated a familiarity 
from childhood with all the details of the art. This done, 
he waited, calming his impatient horses with word and 
whip, often combined, or employed each in turn. 

Every one is familiar with the rapidity with which the 
meals of those unhappy ones who are condemned to the 
rule of the stage-coach are devoured. The half-hour there- 
fore had not expired when the conductor's voice was heard 
calling out : " Come, citizens ! carriage is ready ! " 

Montbar stood near the door, and in spite of their dis- 
guises had no difficulty in recognizing Roland and the 
brigadier-general of the Seventh Chasseurs, who took their 
places in the interior of the vehicle without paying any 
attention to the postilion. The latter shut the door upon 
them, passed one of the padlocks through the two screw- 
eyes, and turned the key. Then going around the coach he 
pretended to let his whip drop before the other door, and 
as he stooped for it he put a second padlock into the two 
other screw-eyes, turning the key as he rose ; then, cer- 
tain that the two officers were well locked in, he bestrode 
his horse, all the time scolding the conductor who allowed 
him to do his work. In fact, the traveller of the coupe 
was already in his place, while the conductor was disput- 
ing an account with the host. 

"Are we going this evening, to-night, or to-morrow 



THE MAIL-COACH FOR CHAMBERY. 189 



morning, Father Francois?" cried the pretended postil- 
ion, imitating as best he could the voice of the real 
one. 

lt Yes, yes, we are going," replied the conductor. Then 
looking around him he asked : " But where are the 
travellers 1 " 

" Here we are," replied the two officers from the inte- 
rior of the coach and the agent from the coupe. 

" Is the door shut close? " continued Frangois. 

" Oh, I will answer for it," replied Montbar. 

" Then in that case let us go," cried the conductor, 
stepping upon the footpiece ; and taking his place near 
his traveller, he brought the door to after him. 

The postilion did not make him speak twice, but 
started his horses by plunging the spurs into the sides of 
the one that he rode and tingling the two others with a 
vigorous blow of his whip. The mail-coach started off 
at a gallop. 

Montbar behaved as though he had never been anything 
but a postilion in his life, and crossed the city at such a 
rate that the windows danced and the houses trembled. 
Never had a real postilion cracked his whip in a more 
knowing manner. As he left Macon he saw a little group 
of horsemen. It was the twelve Chasseurs who were to 
follow the coach without appearing to escort it. The briga- 
dier-general passed his head through the opening of the 
door and made a sign to the quartermaster who com- 
manded them. Montbar did not seem to remark any- 
thing, but at the end of three hundred paces, while 
executing a symphony with his whip, he turned his head 
and saw that the escort had started. " Now, my dears," 
said Montbar, " I am going to make you see the country." 
And he redoubled the strokes of his spurs and the blows 
of his whip. The horses seemed to have wings. The 



190 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



coach flew over the pavement until it seemed as if a car 
of thunder had passed. 

The conductor grew uneasy. u Master Antoine," he 
cried, " do you happen to he drunk ? 7 ' 

''Drunk! yes," replied Monthar. "I had heet-root 
salad for dinner," 

" But if he goes so fast," cried Roland, putting his head 
through the door in his turn, " the escort cannot follow 
us." 

"Do you hear what he said to you?" cried the 
conductor. 

" No," replied Monthar, " I do not hear." 

" Well, they said that if you went so fast the escort 
could not follow." 

" Is there an escort 1 " said Montbar. 

"Yes, since we have government money with us." 

" That is another thing ! You ought to have told me 
at once.' 7 

But instead of slackening its course the coach continued 
to go on in the same way • if there was any change, it 
appeared to gain in velocity. 

" You know that if there is any accident," said the 
conductor, " I will shoot you." 

"Oh," said Montbar, "everybody knows your pistols; 
there are no bullets in them." 

" Perhaps so ; but there are some in mine," cried the 
police agent. 

" We will see, when the occasion calls for them," replied 
Montbar. And he continued on his way without trou- 
bling himself to speak further. 

They crossed with the speed of lightning the village 
of Varennes, that of la Creche, and the little town of 
Chapelle de Guinchay. They were only about a quarter 
of a league from the Maison Blanche. The horses were 



THE MAIL-COACH FOR CHAMBERY. 



191 



dripping, and they neighed with rage as they tossed the 
foam from their mouths. 

Montbar glanced behind him. More than a thousand 
feet behind the mail-coach sparks were flying under the 
feet of the horses of the escort. Before him was the slope 
of a mountain. He dashed upon it, gathering up his 
reins in such a way as to make himself master of the 
horses when he liked. The conductor had ceased to call 
out, for he recognized that the horses were being driven 
by a hand at once skilful and vigorous. Only, from time 
to time, the brigadier-general looked out of the door to 
see how far off his men were. 

Half way down the slope Montbar was master of his 
horses, without having appeared for a moment to slacken 
their course. Then he began singing in a loud voice the 
Reveil-du-Peuple ; it is the Royalists' song, as the Mar- 
seillaise was the song of the Jacobins. 

"What is that rascal doing 1 " cried Roland, putting his 
head out of the door. " Tell him to keep still, Conductor, 
or I will put a bullet into him." 

Perhaps the conductor would have repeated Roland's 
threat to the postilion, but he thought he saw a black line 
which barred the road. At the same time a voice of 
thunder cried, " Stop, Conductor ! " 

" Postilion, ride right over them ! " cried the agent of 
police. 

" Do you think so 1 " said Montbar. " Do you want to 
ride over your friends ? H-o-o-h ! " 

The mail-coach stopped as if by enchantment. 

" Forward ! forward ! at once ! " cried Roland and the 
chief of brigade, realizing that the escort was too far off 
to be of any use to them. 

" Ah, you blackguard of a postilion," cried the agent 
of police, leaping down from the coupe and pointing a 
pistol at Montbar. "You shall pay for this." 



192 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 

But he had not finished before Montbar, anticipating 
him, fired, and the agent rolled, mortally wounded, under 
the wheels of the coach. His finger contracted in agony 
and touched the trigger of his pistol. The weapon was 
discharged, but the ball hit no one. 

" Conductor," cried the two officers, " by all the thun- 
ders of heaven open this door ! " 

" Gentlemen," said Morgan, coming forward, "we do 
not want your persons. We only want the government, 
money. Now, Conductor, the fifty thousand francs, and 
quickly ! " 

Two shots from the interior of the coach were the reply 
of the two officers, who, after having vainly shaken the 
doors, tried still more vainly to get out through the 
windows. Doubtless one of the shots had told, for they 
heard a cry of rage, at the same time that a flash of light 
illuminated the road. The general of brigade uttered a 
sigh, and fell over upon Roland. He had been shot dead. 
Roland fired a second pistol, but no one replied. His two 
pistols were discharged. Shut in as he was he could not 
use his sword, and he was raging with anger. 

In the mean time they were forcing the conductor, with 
a pistol held at his throat, to give up the money. Two 
men took the bags which contained the fifty thousand 
francs, and loaded them upon Montbar's horse, which his 
groom had brought to him all saddled and bridled, as for 
a meeting of the hunt. 

Montbar got rid of his great boots, and leaped into the 
saddle with his thin shoes on. " My compliments to the 
First Consul, Monsieur de Montrevel," he exclaimed. Then 
turning towards his companions he said : " Scatter now, 
my boys, and take any road you like ! You know the 
meeting place to-morrow evening." 

" Yes," replied ten or twelve voices. And the whole 



THE MAIL-COACH FOR CHAMB^RY. 193 

baud scattered like the flight of birds, disappearing in the 
valley under the shadow of the trees which grew along 
the river's bank. Just then they heard the galloping of 
horses, and the escort, attracted by the firing, appeared 
upon the summit of the mountain, which they descended 
like an avalanche. 

But they came too late. They found only the conductor 
seated upon the bank by the roadside, the two corpses of 
the agent of police and the general of brigade, and Roland 
a prisoner, and raging like an infuriated lion. 



vol. in — 13 



194: THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTEK XVI. 

LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY. 

While the events which we have just related were taking 
place in the provinces, and occupying all minds and all 
newspapers there, other events, of a serious nature, were 
being prepared at Paris, which were to occupy the minds 
and newspapers of the entire world. 

Lord Tanlay had returned with the reply of his uncle, 
Lord Grenville. This reply consisted of a letter addressed 
to M. de Talleyrand, and a note enclosed in it for the 
First Consul. The letter was as follows : — 

Downing Street, Feb. 14, 1800. 
Monsieur, — I have received and given to the king the 
letter which you sent to me by my nephew, Lord Tanlay. His 
Majesty, seeing no reason for departing from the forms which 
have been for a long time established in Europe for treating 
with foreign Powers, has ordered me to transmit to you in his 
name the official reply which I enclose herewith. 
I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your very humble and obedient servant, 

Grenville. 

The reply was short, the note precise. More; a letter 
had been written, bearing the autograph of the First 
Consul, to King George, and he, not departing from the 
forms established in Europe for treating with foreign 
Powers, had replied by a simple note in the handwriting 
of his first secretary. It is true that the note was signed 
" Grenville." It was merely a long recrimination against 



Napoleon. 



LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY. 



195 



France, against the spirit of disorder which agitated it, 
and against the fears which this spirit of disorder excited 
all over Europe, and enlarging upon the necessity im- 
posed, by a regard for their own preservation, upon all 
reigning sovereigns to repress it. In short, it was a con- 
tinuation of the war. 

At the reading of this note Bonaparte's eyes shone with 
the flame which with him always preceded great decisions, 
as the lightning precedes the thunder. " And so, sir," he 
said, turning to Lord Tanlay, " this is all that you were 
able to obtain 1 " 

"Yes, citizen Consul." 

" Then you did not repeat verbally to your uncle what 
I told you 1 " 

et I did not forget a syllable." 

" Perhaps you did not tell him that you had lived in 
France for two or three years ; that you had seen it and 
studied it ; that it was strong, powerful, and happy, and 
desirous of peace, although prepared for war 1 " 

" I told him all that." 

" Then you did not add that the war which England 
wages against us is a senseless one ; that this spirit of dis- 
order of which they speak is nothing more than the over- 
flow of repressed liberty, which it is advisable to shut up 
in France by a universal peace ; that this peace is the sole 
boundary which can keep it from leaping our frontiers ; 
that in kindling in France the volcano of war, France, 
like an outburst of lava, will overflow upon other nations 1 
Italy is delivered, says the King of England ; but de- 
livered from whom ] From its liberators ! Italy is 
deliverer!, but why? Because I was conquering Egypt 
from the Delta to the third cataract ! Italy is free be- 
cause I am not there. But in a month I shall be in Italy ; 
and what will be necessary to reconquer it, from the Alps to 



196 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the Adriatic 1 One battle. What do you think Massena 
is doing in defending Genes 1 He is waiting for me. Ah, 
so the sovereigns of Europe need war in order to make 
their crowns safer ! Well, my lord, I tell you I will shake 
Europe until the crowns tremble on their foreheads. They 
need war 1 Wait ! Bourrienne ! Bourrienne ! " 

The door of communication between the office of the 
First Consul and that of the secretary opened quickly, 
and Bourrienne appeared, with his face as frightened as if 
Bonaparte had called for help. The latter was all excite- 
ment, crushing the diplomatic note in one hand and tapping 
upon the desk with the other, while Lord Tanlay stood calm 
and motionless a few steps away from him. 

Bourrienne understood at once that it was the reply 
from England which had so irritated the First Consul. 
" You called me, General ? " he said. 

"Yes," said the First Consul; "sit down there and 
write." And with a sharp, dry voice, without seek- 
ing for words, but on the contrary as if the words 
crowded to the door of his mind, he dictated the follow- 
ing proclamation : — ■ 

44 Soldiers ! — In promising peace to the people of France, 
I have been your mouthpiece ; I knew your worth. You are 
the same men who conquered the Rhine, Holland, and Italy, 
and who gave peace under the walls of astonished Vienna. 

" Soldiers ! It is no longer a question of defending your 
frontiers, but of invading unfriendly States. When the time 
comes, I shall be in the midst of you, and then astonished 
Europe will remember that you are of the race of brave 
men." 

Bourrienne raised his head and waited, after he had 
written the last words. 

"Well, that is all," said Bonaparte. 

" Shall I add the sacramental words, Vive la Republique? " 



LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY. 



197 



" Why do you ask that 1 " 

"Because we have had no proclamations for four 
months, and something might be changed in the ordinary 
formulas." 

" The proclamation is very well as it is," said Bonaparte. 
" Add nothing." And taking a pen, lie scratched, rather 
than wrote, his name at the bottom of the proclamation. 
Then, handing it back to Bourrienne, he said : " Let that 
appear in the 'Moniteur' to-morrow." 

Bourrienne went out, taking the proclamation with him. 

Bonaparte, left alone with Lord Tanlay, walked up and 
down for a moment as if he had forgotten his presence ; 
then suddenly stopping before him, he said : " My lord, do 
you think that you obtained from your uncle all that 
another could have obtained in your place ? " 

"More, citizen Consul." 

" More ! more ! — but what did you obtain ] " 

" Possibly the citizen Consul has not read the royal 
note with all the attention which it deserves." 

" I know it by heart," replied Bonaparte. 

" Then the citizen Consul has not weighed well the 
spirit and the words of a certain paragraph." 

" Do you think so? " 

" I am sure of it ; and if the citizen Consul will permit 
me to read to him the paragraph to which I refer — " 

Bonaparte unclosed the hand which held the crumpled 
note, unfolded it, and handed it to Lord Tanlay, saying : 
" Bead." 

Sir John glanced over the note, which seemed to be 
familiar to him, and stopping at the tenth paragraph, 
read, — 

" The be3t and surest pledge of the reality of peace, as well 
as of its duration, would be the restoration of that line of 
princes who for so many centuries have preserved prosperity 



198 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



within, consideration and respect without. Such a course 
would scatter for all time those obstacles which prevent peace- 
ful negotiations ; it would secure to France the peaceful enjoy- 
ment of her ancient territory, and would procure for all other 
nations of Europe, by tranquillity and peace, that security 
which they are obliged to seek now by other means." 

" Well," said Bonaparte, impatiently, " I read it, and 
understood it perfectly. Do as Monk did, — work for 
another, — and you will be pardoned your victories, your 
reputation, and your genius ; humble yourself, and you 
will be allowed to remain great ! " 

4 ' Citizen Consul," said Lord Tanlay, "no one knows 
better than I do the difference that there is between you 
and Monk, and how far superior to him you are in genius 
and reputation." 

" Then why do you read that to me] 7 ' 

" I read it to you," replied Sir John, " only to beg you 
to give its full value to the paragraph that follows." 

" Let us see what follows," said Bonaparte, w T ith only 
half concealed impatience. 

Sir John continued : — 

" But however desirable such an event may be for France 
and the world, his Majesty does not exclusively limit to this 
method the possibility of a solid and sure peace." 

Sir John emphasized the last words. 
" Ah ! " said Bonaparte, and he quickly approached 
Sir John. 

The Englishman continued : — 

" His Majesty does not presume to dictate to France as to 
the form of her government, nor in what hands shall be placed 
the necessary authority for conducting the affairs of a great and 
powerful nation." 

" Read that again," said Bonaparte, quickly. 



LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY. 



199 



"Read it for yourself," rejoined Sir John. And he 
held out the note to him. 

Bonaparte read it again. " Was it you, Monsieur," he 
asked, " who caused this paragraph to be added 1 " 

" I insisted that it should be put there." 

Bonaparte reflected. " You are right," he said; "this 
is a great step, gained. The restoration of the Bourbons 
is no longer a sine qua non condition. I am accepted not 
only as a military but as a political power." Then, hold- 
ing out his hand to Sir John, he said : " Have you any- 
thing to ask of me, sir ] " 

" The only thing that I desire has already been asked 
of you by my friend Koland." 

" And I have already replied to him, sir, that I should 
be very glad to see you the husband of his sister. If I 
were rich, or if you were less so — " 

Sir John made a quick movement. 

" But I know that your fortune is enough for two or 
even more," added Bonaparte, smiling. " I therefore 
leave to you the joy of bestowing not only happiness but 
riches upon the woman you love." Then he called : 
" Bourrienne ! " 

Bourrienne appeared. "It has gone, General," he 
said. 

" Good ! " replied the First Consul ; " but that was not 
why I called you." 

" I await your orders." 

" At whatever hour of the day or night Lord Tanlay 
may appear, I shall be happy to receive him without keep- 
ing him waiting. Do you hear, Bourrienne? Do you 
hear, my lord 1 " 

Lord Tanlay bowed in token of gratitude. 

" And now," said Bonaparte, " I suppose you are in 
haste to set off for the Chateau of Noires-Fontaines ; I 



200. 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



will not detain you, and will put only one condition upon 
your departure." 

" What is that, General 1 " 

" It is that if I need you for a new embassy — " 

"That is not a condition, — it is a favor/' said Lord 
Tanlay, as he bowed and went out. 

Bourrienne prepared to follow him. But Bonaparte 
recalled his secretary. 

" Is a carriage ready 1 " he asked. 

Bourrienne looked into the courtyard. " Yes, Gen- 
eral," he said. 

" Well, make haste ; we will go together." 

" I am ready, General. I have only my hat and coat 
to put on, and they are in my office." 

" Then let us go," said Bonaparte. And he took his 
own hat and overcoat, and going first, descended the little 
staircase and made a sign to the carriage to approach. 

However much Bourrienne hurried, he could not over- 
take him. The lackey opened the door, and Bonaparte 
jumped into the carriage. 

" Where are we going, General 1 " asked Bourrienne. 

" To the Tuileries," replied Bonaparte. 

Bourrienne, astonished, repeated the order, and turned 
towards the First Consul as if to ask an explanation ; but 
the latter seemed to be deep in thought, which Bour- 
rienne, who was still his friend, did not care to interrupt. 
The horses set off at a gallop, for that was the way Bon- 
aparte always chose to ride, and took the direction of the 
Tuileries. 

The Tuileries, which had been inhabited by Louis XVI. 
after the days of the 5th and 6th October, and sub- 
sequently occupied by the Convention and the Council of 
Five Hundred, had been empty and deserted since the 
18th Brumaire. Since that date Bonaparte had more 



LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY. 201 

than once cast longing glances upon this ancient palace of 
royalty ; but it was important that no one should suspect 
that a future king might inhabit the palace of those who 
had been deposed. Bonaparte had brought from Italy a 
magnificent bust of Junius Brutus ; it was out of place in 
the Luxembourg, and towards the end of November the 
First Consul had summoned the republican David, and 
commissioned him to place this bust in the gallery of the 
Tuileries. 

Who would have thought that David, the friend of 
Marat, would have made ready the dwelling of a future 
emperor by placing in the gallery of the Tuileries the 
bust of the murderer of Caesar 1 ? No one would have 
believed it, or even suspected it. 

When he went to see if the bust was properly placed 
in the gallery, Bonaparte noticed the devastations which 
had been committed in the palace of Catherine de Medicis. 
It was true that the Tuileries was no longer the abode of 
kings ; but it was a national palace, and the nation could 
not allow it to fall into decay. Bonaparte sent for citizen 
Lecomte, architect of the palace, and ordered him to 
" clear up " the Tuileries : the words might have been 
taken in a moral as well as physical sense. The architect 
was asked what this clearing up would cost. His estimate 
amounted to five hundred thousand francs. Bonaparte 
asked if by means of this the palace could become a gov- 
ernment palace. The architect replied that this sum would 
suffice, not only to put it in its former condition, but to 
make it habitable. 

This was all that Bonaparte wanted, — a habitable 
palace. What did he, a republican, w r ant of the luxury 
of royalty ] For the government palace all the orna- 
ments should be grave and severe, marbles and statues. 
But what were these statues to be ? That was for the 



202 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



First Consul to say. Bonaparte chose them from three 
great centuries and three great nations, — from the Greeks, 
the Romans, our rivals, and ourselves. From the Greeks 
he chose Alexander and Demosthenes, the genius of con- 
quest and the genius of eloquence. From the Romans he 
chose Scipio, Cicero, Cato, Brutus, and Ceesar, placing the 
great victim near his murderer, almost as great as he. 
From the modern world he chose Gustavus Adolphus, 
Turenne, the great Conde, Duguay-Trouin, Marlborough, 
Prince Eugene, and the Marechal de Saxe ; and finally, 
Frederic the Great, and Washington, — emblems of false 
philosophy on the throne, and true wisdom founding a free 
State. Then he added to these warlike illustrations Dani- 
pierre, Dugommier, and Joubert, to prove that even as 
the memory of a Bourbon did not frighten him in the 
person of the great Conde, he was not envious of the 
glory of three brothers -at-arms, who were victims of a 
cause which was no longer his. 

This was the state of things at the time of which we 
are writing, the end of February, 1800. The Tuileries 
was put in order, the busts were in their places, the 
statues on their pedestals ; all that was wanting was a 
favorable ojjportunity. This opportunity had come j news 
had been received of the death of George Washington. 
The founder of liberty in the United States had died on 
the 14th of December, 1799. This was what Bonaparte 
was thinking of when Bourrienne forbore to disturb his 
reflections. 

The carriage stopped before the Tuileries. Bonaparte 
left it as briskly as he had entered it, mounted the stair- 
case rapidly, looked through the apartments, and examined 
more particularly those which Louis XVI. and Marie 
Antoinette had inhabited. Then, stopping at Louis XVI.'s 
cabinet, " We will lodge here, Bourrienne," he said sud- 



LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY. 



203 



denly, as though the latter had been able to follow hiin 
in the labyrinth through which he was wandering, guided 
by that thread of Ariadne, called thought, — "yes, we 
will have our rooms here ; the third consul will lodge in 
the pavilion of Flora, and Cambaceres will remain at the 
Chancellerie." 

" So that when the day conies," said Bourrienne, " you 
will only have to send away one of them." 

Bonaparte took Bourrienne by the ear. " That is not 
bad," he said. 

"And when shall we change our quarters, General 1 ?" 
asked Bourrienne. 

" Oh, not at once ; it will take at least a week to pre- 
pare the Parisians for my change of residence from the 
Luxembourg to the Tuileries." 

"A week ! " said Bourrienne. "We can wait." 

" Particularly if we go about it at once. Come, Bour- 
rienne, to the Luxembourg." And with the rapidity which 
characterized all his movements when he was engaged 
upon matters of importance, Bonaparte retraced his steps 
through the apartments which he had already visited, de- 
scended the stairs, and leaped into the carriage, saying ; 
" To the Luxembourg ! " 

" Well, well," said Bourrienne, who was still in the 
vestibule, " are you not going to wait for me, General V 

" Laggard ! " said Bonaparte. And they set off as they 
had come, at a gallop. 

When he entered his cabinet, Bonaparte found his min- 
ister of police waiting for him. " Well, what is it now, 
citizen Fouche 1 " he said. " Your face is full of news. 
Has any one been trying to assassinate me 1 " 

"Citizen Consul," said the minister, "you have appar- 
ently attached great importance to the destruction of cer- 
tain bands calling themselves the companions of Jehu." 



204 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Yes, since I sent Roland himself in pursuit of them. 
Have you had any news from them 1 " 
"Yes." 

" From whom 1 " 

" From their chief himself.' , 

" What do you mean 1 " 

" He has had the audacity to send me an account of his 
last expedition." 
" Against whom 1 " 

"Against the fifty thousand francs which you sent to 
the Fathers of St. Bernard." 

" And what has become of them 1 " 
" Of the fifty thousand francs? " 
" Yes." 

"They are in the hands of the bandits, and their chief 
announces to me that they will soon be in those of 
Cadoudal." 

" Then Roland is killed?" 

"No." 

"How is that %" 

"My agent is killed, and the chief of brigade Saint- 
Maurice is killed ; but your aide-de-camp is safe and 
sound." 

"Then he will hang himself," said Bonaparte. 
" What for 1 The cord would break ; you know his 
luck." 

" Or his ill luck, — yes. Where is this report 1 " 
"Do you want to see the letter 1 ?" 

" The letter, the report, the thing, whatever you call it, 
which gave you this news ! " 

The minister of police gave the First Consul a little 
paper elegantly folded and enclosed in a perfumed 
envelope. 

"What is that?" 



LORD GRENVILLE'S REPLY, 



205 



"That is what you asked for." 

Bonaparte read the address, " To citizen Fouche, min- 
ister of police, at Paris." He opened the letter and read 
as follows : — 

Citizen Minister, — I have the honor to announce to you 
that the fifty thousand francs destined for the Fathers of St. 
Bernard passed into our hands during the evening of February 
15, 1800 (old style), and that in a week from now they will be 
in the possession of citizen Cadoudal. 

The thing went off beautifully, except for the death of your 
agent and that of the chief of brigade, Saint-Maurice. As for 
M. Roland de Montrevel, I am delighted to be able to tell you 
that he escaped without any harm. I have not forgotten that 
it was he who introduced me into the Luxembourg. 

I write this to you, because I suppose M. Roland de Montre- 
vel is just now too much occupied with our pursuit to write 
himself. But as soon as he takes a moment's rest, I am sure 
that you will receive from him a report, in which he will em- 
body all the details that I have no time to write now. 

In exchange for the service which I am doing you, let me 
beg you to do something for me ; and that is, to inform Mme. 
de Montrevel without delay of her son's safety. 

Morgan. 

From the Maison Blanche, on the road from Macon to Lyons. 
Saturday, nine o'clock in the evening. 

" Well," said Bonaparte, " He is a bold rascal ! " Then 
he added with a sigh, " What captains and colonels all 
these men would have made for me ! " 

" What are the First Consul's orders 1 " asked the min- 
ister of police. 

" None at all. This is Roland's affair ; his honor is con- 
cerned in it ; and since he is not dead, he will take his 
own revenge." 

" Then the First Consul will do nothing further about 
the affair 1 " 



206 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Not just now, at all events." Then turning towards 
his secretary, he said : " We have other things to think 
of, have we not, Bourrienne 1 " 

Bourrienne made an affirmative sign. 

" When does the First Consul desire to see me again 1 " 
asked the minister. 

" This evening, at ten o'clock, you may be here. We 
are to change our residence in a week." 

"Where are you going 1 " 

" To the Tuileries." 

Fouche made a movement of astonishment. 

"It is contrary to your opinions, I know," said the 
First Consul ; " but I will take the responsibility, and you 
will only have to obey me." 

Fouche bowed and turned to go. 

" By the way," said Bonaparte. 

Fouche turned around. 

" Do not forget to tell Mme. de Montrevel that her son 
is safe and sound. That is the least we can do for citizen 
Morgan, after all he has done for us." And he turned his 
back upon the minister of police, who went away biting 
his lips until the blood came. 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



207 



CHAPTER XVII. 

A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 

The same day the First Consul, left alone with Bour- 
rienne, dictated to him the following order, addressed to 
the consuls' guard and to the army : — 

" Washington is dead ! This great man fought successfully 
against tyranny ; he consolidated the liberty of America. His 
memory will always be dear to the French, as it will be to all 
free men of the two worlds, and particularly to the French sol- 
diers, who, like those in America, fought for liberty and equal- 
ity. Consequently, the First Consul orders that for the next ten 
days black crape shall be hung from all the flags and standards 
of the Republic." 

But the First Consul did not limit himself to this order 
of the day. Among the means destined to facilitate his 
transit from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries was one of 
those fetes by which he understood so well not only how 
to amuse the eyes but to impress the minds. This fete 
was to take place at the Invalides, or rather, as it was 
called then, the Temple of Mars ; they were to honor a 
bust of Washington, and to receive from the hands of 
General Lannes the flags of Aboukir. It was one of those 
contrasting combinations of which Bonaparte was so fond. 
He took a great man from the New World, and a victory 
from the Old ; he shadowed young America with the 
palms of Thebes and Memphis. 

On the day fixed for the ceremony, six thousand men 
were stationed along the road from the Luxembourg to 



208 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the Invalides. At eight o'clock Bonaparte mounted his 
horse in the grand court of the consular palace, and by 
way of the Rue de Tournon went towards the quays, ac- 
companied by a staff of generals, the oldest of whom was 
not more than thirty-five years old. Lannes headed the 
procession ; behind him sixty guides carried the sixty 
captured flags ; then came Bonaparte, two horses' lengths 
ahead of his staff. The minister of war, Berthier, was 
awaiting the procession under the dome of the temple ; he 
was leaning against a statue of Mars in repose : all the 
ministers and councillors of State were grouped around 
him., Upon the columns sustaining the roof were already 
hung the flags of Denain and Fontenoy, and those of the 
first campaign in Italy; two aged Invalides, who had 
fought beside Marshal Saxe, were standing at Berthier's 
right and left, like caryatides of the ancient days looking 
across the centuries ; and at the right, upon a platform, 
was placed the bust of Washington, which they were about 
to shadow with the flags of Aboukir. Upon another plat- 
form, opposite this one, was Bonaparte's chair. Around 
the sides of the temple rose seats, upon which, all the ele- 
gant society of Paris, or at least such of it as conformed 
to the new order of things, had taken their places. 

At the appearance of the flags, the brazen tones of the 
military trumpets burst forth under the vaulted roof of 
the temple. Lannes entered first, and made a sign to the 
guides, who, ascending two by two the steps of the plat- 
form, passed the staves of the flags through the loops pre- 
viously prepared for them. In the mean time Bonaparte, 
in the midst of acclamations, had taken his place in his 
armchair. Then Lannes advanced towards the minister of 
war, and in the powerful voice which knew so well how 
to cry, " Forward !" on the field of battle, said : — 

" Citizen minister ! here are all the flags of the Ottoman 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



209 



army, which was destroyed under your eyes at Aboukir. 
The army of Egypt, after crossing burning deserts and 
triumphing over hunger and thirst, found itself before an 
enemy who were proud of their numbers and victories, 
and who thought to find an easy prey in our troops, who 
were worn thin by fatigue and by constantly recurring 
battles. They were ignorant that the French soldier is 
even greater from his power to suffer than from his power 
to conquer, and that his courage only increases with dan- 
ger. Three thousand Frenchmen, as you know, fell upon 
eighteen thousand barbarians, engulfed them, turned them 
around, put them to rout, and pressed them between their 
ranks and the sea ; and such was the terror which our 
bayonets inspired, that the Mussulmans, forced to choose 
their death, threw themselves into the Mediterranean. 
The destinies of Egypt, France, and Europe were weighed 
in the balance on that memorable day, and were saved by 
your courage. Allied Powers ! if you dared to violate the 
territory of France, and if the general who was given to 
us by the victory of Aboukir should make an appeal to 
the nation, 0 Allied Powers, your success would be more 
unfortunate for you than a defeat. What Frenchman 
would not conquer again under the flags of the First Con- 
sul, or serve under him an apprenticeship to glory 1 " 

Then addressing the Invalides, for whom the gallery at 
the back had been entirely reserved, he continued in a 
louder voice : — 

" And you, bravo veterans, honorable victims of many 
battles ! you would not be the last to hasten to obey the 
orders of him who consoles your misfortunes and your 
glories, and who places in the midst of you and in your 
keeping these trophies conquered by your valor. Ah, I 
know, brave veterans, how you burn to sacrifice half your 
remaining days for your country and liberty ! " 
VOL. ii. — 14 



210 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



This burst of military eloquence from the conqueror of 
Montebello was constantly interrupted by applause ; three 
times the minister of war attempted to reply, and three 
times the renewed shouts interrupted his words ; finally, 
however, there was silence, and Berthier spoke as follows : 

" To bring to the borders of the Seine trophies won 
upon the banks of the Nile ; to suspend from the arches 
of our temples, beside flags from Vienna, Petersburg, and 
London, the flags which were once blessed in the mosques 
of Byzantium and Cairo ; to see them presented here to our 
country by the same warriors, young in years but old in 
glory, whom victory has so often crowned, is an achieve- 
ment which belongs to republican France alone. And 
this is only a small part of what, in the flower of his age, 
has been accomplished by this hero, who, covered with the 
laurels of Europe, appeared as a conqueror before those 
pyramids from whose summits forty centuries watched 
him as he freed by victory the natal land of the arts, and, 
surrounded by learned men and warriors, brought to it the 
light of civilization. 

" Soldiers ! place in this temple of warlike virtues 
these ensigns of the Crescent, taken from the rocks of 
Canope by three thousand Frenchmen from eighteen thou- 
sand warriors as brave as they were barbaric ! May they 
preserve the memory of this celebrated expedition, whose 
object and success seem to be to absolve war of the evils 
which it causes ! May they bear witness, not to the 
bravery of the French soldier, for the whole universe is 
ringing with that, but to his unalterable constancy and 
his sublime devotion ! May the sight of these flags re- 
joice and console you, warriors, whose bodies, mutilated 
gloriously upon the battlefields of honor, permit to your 
courage nothing more than wishes and memories ! From 
this roof may these ensigns proclaim to the enemies of the 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



211 



French the influence of the genius and valor of the heroes 
who conquered them, and may they prophesy to them all 
the evils of war if they remain deaf to the voice which 
offers them peace ! Yes, if they wish for war they shall 
have it, and that terribly ! 

" Satisfied France contemplates the army of the East 
with a feeling of pride. This invincible army will learn 
with joy that the brave men who conquered with it have 
been its organ ; it knows that the First Consul watches 
over the children of glory ; it will know that it is the ob- 
ject of the affectionate care of the Republic ; it will know 
that we have honored it in our temples, and that if neces- 
sary we will imitate upon the battlefields of Europe the 
warlike virtues which we have seen displayed in the burn- 
ing deserts of Africa and Asia. 

" Come in its name, intrepid general ! come in the 
name of all these heroes here before you, and receive in 
this embrace the pledge of national gratitude ! 

" But as we take up again the protecting arms of our 
independence, if the blind fury of kings refuses to the 
world the peace which we offer it, let us, my comrades, 
throw a laurel branch upon the ashes of Washington, that 
hero who freed America from the yoke of the most impla- 
cable enemies to our liberty ; and may his illustrious 
shade bear witness beyond the tomb to the glory which 
accompanies the memory of liberators of their country ! " 

Bonaparte came down from his platform, and in the 
name of France was embraced by Berthier. 

M. de Fontanes, who was to deliver the eulogy upon 
Washington, allowed the torrent of applause which seemed 
to rush like a cascade through the immense amphitheatre 
to fall, even to the last drop, before he began to speak. 
Among all these celebrities, M. de Fontanes was a political 
and literary curiosity. After the 18th Fructidor he had 



212 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



been proscribed with Suard and Laharpe ; but he had con- 
cealed himself in a friend's house, never going out except 
by night, and had therefore not been obliged to leave 
Paris. Au accident which it had been impossible to 
foresee had denounced him. He was thrown out of a car- 
riage on the Place du Carrousel, his horse ran away, and 
he was recognized by a police agent, who hastened to his 
aid. Fouche, however, although he was not only informed 
of his presence in Paris but of his hiding-place, pretended 
to know nothing of him. A few days after the 18th 
Brumaire, Maret (who afterwards became Due de Bassano), 
Laplace (who was simply a man of science), and Regnault 
de Saint-Jean-d'Angely (who died insane) spoke to the 
First Consul of M. de Fontanes and of his presence in 
Paris. " Present him to me," said the First Consul, briefly. 
M. de Fontanes was presented to Bonaparte, who, know- 
ing the supple character and the adroitly flattering 
eloquence of the man, had chosen him to pronounce 
Washington's eulogy, and perhaps to a certain extent his 
own also. M. de Fontanes's speech is too long to be re- 
produced here, but we may add that it was all that Bona- 
parte had desired. 

In the evening there was a grand reception at the Lux- 
embourg. During the ceremony a report gained ground 
that the First Consul was intending to transfer his resi- 
dence to the Tuileries. The boldest and the most curious 
ventured to question Josephine upon the subject; but the 
poor woman, with the vision still before her eyes of Marie 
Antoinette upon the cart on her way to the scaffold, drew 
back instinctively from everything which savored of roy- 
alty, and she therefore hesitated to reply, referring all 
questions to her husband. 

Then another bit of news was circulated, which rivalled 
the other in interest. Murat had asked the hand of Mile. 
Caroline Bonaparte in marriage. 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



213 



'Now, this marriage, if it took place, would be a signifi- 
cant one. Bonaparte had been estranged for a year from 
the man who now aspired to the honor of becoming his 
brother-in-law. The motive for this estrangement may ap- 
pear strange to our readers. Murat, the lion of the army • 
Murat, whose courage was proverbial ; Murat, who posed 
to a sculptor as the god of war, — Murat, one day when 
he had slept or breakfasted badly, had behaved like a 
coward. It was before Mantua, when Wurmser, after the 
battle of Rivoli, had been besieged with twenty-eight 
thousand men. General Miollis, with four thousand only, 
was to maintain the blockade ; and during a sortie which 
the Austrians attempted, Murat, at the head of five hun- 
dred men, was ordered to charge three thousand. He 
charged, but the operation lacked vigor. Bonaparte, whose 
aide-de-camp he was, was* so irritated that he removed him 
from about his person. This was all the greater cause of 
despair for Murat, because he already wished, if not hoped, 
to become the general's brother-in-law. He was in love 
with Caroline Bonaparte. 

How had this love come about 1 It may be told in a 
few words. Perhaps those who read each one of our 
books by itself are astonished to find in them certain de- 
tails which seem hardly to belong to the work in hand. 
But we do not write isolated books ; as we have already 
said or tried to say, we are attempting to fill in an immense 
outline. Our characters are not limited to the part that 
they play in one book ; he who appears as an aide-de-camp 
in this book, you will find a king in another, and pro- 
scribed and shot in a third. Balzac has written a great 
work entitled " The Human Comedy." Our work, begun 
at the same time, may be entitled "The Drama of 
France." 

Let us return to Murat. Let us relate how this love, 



214 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



which influenced his destiny in a manner so glorious and 
possibly so fatal, came to him. 

Murat, in 1796, had been sent to Paris and charged to 
present to the Directory the flags taken by the French 
army in the battles of Dego and Mondovi. During this 
journey he made the acquaintance of Mine. Bonaparte 
and Mme. Tallien. At Mme. Bonaparte's house he met 
again Mile. Caroline Bonaparte. We say met again, 
for this was not the first time that he had met her 
who was to share the crown of Naples with him ; he had 
already seen her at Rome, at her brother J oseph's ; and 
there, in spite of the rivalry of a young and handsome 
Roman prince, he had been favorably noticed by her. 
The three women united in asking and obtaining from the 
Directory the rank of general of brigade for Murat. 

Murat returned to the army in Italy more deeply 
in love than ever with Mile. Bonaparte, and in spite 
of his rank as general of brigade, sought and obtained 
the favor of remaining aide-de-camp to the general-in- 
chief. Unhappily, there came the fatal sortie at Mantua, 
in which he fell under the displeasure of Bonaparte. This 
displeasure took for a time the form of genuine enmity. 
Bonaparte thanked him for his services as aide-de-camp, 
and placed him in Neille's division, and then in that of 
Baraguey d'Hilliers. The result was that when Bonaparte 
came to Paris after the treaty of Tolentino, Murat did 
not accompany him. 

The feminine triumvirate who had taken the young 
general of brigade under their protection started on a new 
campaign ; and as the expedition to Egypt was being dis- 
cussed, they obtained from the minister of war permission 
for Murat to accompany the expedition. He embarked 
upon the same ship as Bonaparte, the " Orient ; " but not 
once during the journey did Bonaparte speak to him. 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



215 



When they landed at Alexandria, Murat could not at first 
break through the icy barrier which separated him from 
his general, who, more for the purpose of putting him at 
a distance than for giving him an opportunity to distin- 
guish himself, opposed him to Mourad Bey. But in this 
campaign Murat performed such prodigies of valor, effaced 
by such daring deeds the remembrance of a moment of 
weakness, and made such an intrepid, even reckless 
charge at Aboukir, that Bonaparte did not dare to show 
any further dislike to him. Consequently Murat returned 
to France with Bonaparte ; co-operated powerfully with 
him upon the 18th and particularly the 19th Brumaire ; 
was received once more into full favor, and appointed to 
the command of the consul's guard. 

Murat believed this to be a favorable moment to con- 
fess his love for Mile. Bonaparte, — a love which was 
perfectly well known to Josephine, who favored it. 
Josephine had two reasons for this. In the first place 
she was a woman, in the most charming acceptation of 
the word, and all the gentle passions of a woman were 
sympathized in by her. Murat loved Caroline, and Car- 
oline loved him, which was reason enough why she should 
protect their love. Then again, Josephine was detested 
by Bonaparte's brothers ; she had bitter enemies in Joseph, 
and Lucien, and she was not sorry to attach to herself 
two devoted friends in Murat and Caroline. She there- 
fore encouraged Murat to speak to Bonaparte. 

Three days before the ceremony which we have just 
described, Murat had therefore entered Bonaparte's cabinet ; 
and after long hesitations, and circumlocutions without 
end, he had finally made his request. Probably the love 
of the two young people for each other was no news to 
the First Consul. He received the request with severe 
gravity, and replied that he would think of it. 



216 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



The thing would certainly bear consideration. Bonaparte 
came of a noble family, while Murat was the son of an inn- 
keeper. The alliance at such a moment had great signifi- 
cance. Was the First Consul, in spite of the nobility of 
his family, in spite of the elevated rank which he had 
attained, not only enough of a republican but enough of 
a democrat to mingle plebeian blood with his own 1 He 
did not take long to reflect; his good sense and logical 
mind told him that the thing was entirely for his interest, 
and that very day he gave his consent to the marriage 
of Murat and Caroline. 

Thus the two items of news — of this marriage and of 
the removal to the Tuileries — were launched upon the 
public at the same time ; and one served as a counterpoise 
for the other. The First Consul was about to occupy the 
residence of kings, and sleep in the bed of the Bour- 
bons ; but he was also about to give his sister in marriage 
to the son of an inn-keeper. 

And now, what dowry could the future queen of Naples 
bring to the hero of Aboukir'? Thirty thousand francs 
in silver, and a diamond necklace which the First Consul 
took from his wife, being too poor to buy one. Josephine 
made up a little face at this, for she thought a great deal 
of her diamond necklace ; but this was a sufficient reply 
to those who had said that Bonaparte made his fortune in 
Italy ; and then, why had Josephine taken the interests 
of the lovers so much to heart 1 She had wished for the 
marriage, and therefore she must contribute to the dowry. 

As a result of this clever combination, on the day that 
the consuls left the Luxembourg (30th Pluviose, year 
VIII.) to go to the government palace, escorted by the 
son of an inn-keeper who was about to become Bonaparte's 
brother-in-law, those who saw them pass had only admir- 
ation and applause for them. And in truth, a proces- 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



217 



sion which had in its ranks such men as Bonaparte, Murat, 
Moreau, Brume, Lannes, Junot, Duroc, Augereau, and 
Massena was well worthy of applause. 

A grand review had been ordered for this day in the 
courtyard of the Carrousel. Mme. Bonaparte was to wit- 
ness it, — not from the clock balcony, which savored too 
much of royalty, but from the apartments occupied by 
Lebrun, in the pavilion of Flora. 

Bonaparte left the palace of the Luxembourg at ex- 
actly one o'clock, escorted by three thousand distinguished 
men, among whom were the superb regiment of the 
guides, created three years before on account of a danger 
which Bonaparte had barely escaped in his Italian campaign. 
After the passage of the Mincio he was resting, overcome 
by fatigue, in a little chateau, and was just preparing to 
take a bath, when an Austrian detachment in retreat, 
having lost their way, invaded the chateau, which was 
guarded by sentinels only, and Bonaparte had barely time 
to escape in his shirt. 

An embarrassment which is worthy of being reported 
occurred on the morning of this day, the 30th Pluviose. 
The generals had their horses and the ministers their car- 
riages, but the other dignitaries had not yet indulged in 
such an expense. There were not enough carriages. They 
supplied the deficiency by hiring nacres, and covering the 
numbers with paper of the same color as the body of the 
vehicle. The First Consul's carriage alone had six horses ; 
but as the three consuls were all in the same carriage, — 
Bonaparte and Cambaceres behind, and Lebrun in 
front, — there were, after all, only two horses for each 
consul. Moreover, these six white horses, given by the 
Emperor Francis to General-in-chief Bonaparte after the 
treaty of Campo Formio, were in themselves a trophy. 
The carriage crossed a part of Paris, following the Eue 



218 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



de Thionville, the quay Voltaire, and the Pont Royal. 
From the gate of the Carrousel to the great door of the 
Tuileries the consul's guard formed in two lines. When 
he passed under the gateway Bonaparte raised his head 
and read the inscription on it. It was as follows : — 

" August 10, 1792, 
Royalty is abolished in France, 
Never to return." 

An imperceptible smile contracted the First Consul's 
lips. 

At the door of the Tuileries Bonaparte descended from 
his carriage and leaped into his saddle to review the troops. 
When he was seen on his battle horse, loud shouts rent 
the air. When the review was ended, he placed himself be- 
fore the clock pavilion, with Murat at his right, Lannes 
at his left, and before him the glorious staff of the whole 
army of Italy. Then began the parade. And then Bon- 
aparte yielded to one of those inspirations which so 
profoundly impressed his image upon the hearts of his 
soldiers. When the flags of the Ninety-sixth, the Thir- 
tieth, and the Thirty-third Brigade passed before him, 
presenting only a staff surmounted by a few tattered 
streamers riddled with balls and blackened with powder, 
he took off his hat and bowed. W r hen the parade was 
finished, he dismounted, and with a bold step ascended 
the staircase of the Valois and the Bourbons. 

In the evening, when Bonaparte was alone with 
Bourrienne, the latter asked : " Well, General, are you 
satisfied 1 ?" 

" Yes," replied Bonaparte, vaguely. " It all went off 
well, did it not ?" 
" Beautifully." 

" I saw you with Mme. Bonaparte at the window of 
the ground floor of the pavilion of Flora." 



A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE. 



219 



" I saw you, too, General ; you were reading the inscrip- 
tion over the gateway of the Carrousel." 

" Yes," said Bonaparte. " < August 10, 1792, Royalty is 
abolished in France, never to return.' " 

" Shall we bring it back, General 1 " asked Bourrienne. 

" It is useless," replied the First Consul ; "it would 
fall again of its own weight." Then with a sigh, he 
asked, " Bourrienne, do you know whom I missed 
to-day 1 " 

" No, General." 

"Roland. What the devil can he be doing, that he 
does not send us any news?" 

What Roland was doing, we are about to know. 



j 



220 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTEE XVIII. 

LOOKING FOR A TRAIL. 

The reader has not forgotten the situation in which the 
escort of the Seventh Chasseurs found the mail-coach 
from Chambery. The first thing they did was to seek 
for the obstacle which prevented Roland from leaving the 
coach. They soon found the padlock, and opened the door. 
Roland leaped from the carriage like a tiger from his cage. 

As we have said, the ground was covered with snow. 
Roland as a hunter and soldier had only one idea : it 
was to track the companions of Jehu. He had seen 
them disappear in the direction of Thoissey ; but he be- 
lieved that they could not follow it for any great distance, 
since between that little town and themselves rolled the 
Saone, and there were no bridges to cross the river except 
at Belleville and at Macon. He ordered the escort and 
the conductor to wait on the high-road ; and he himself, 
on foot, without even stopping to reload his pistols, went 
in search of Morgan and his companions. 

Roland was not mistaken. A quarter of a league from 
the road the fugitives had found the Saone. They had 
stopped there and deliberated an instant, as could be seen 
by the stamping of the horses. Then they had separated 
into two divisions; one had gone up the river towards 
Macon, and the other had descended it towards Belle- 
ville. This division had evidently been for the purpose 
of throwing doubt upon those who pursued them, if they 
were pursued. 



LOOKING FOR A TRAIL. 



221 



.Roland had heard the rallying-cry of the chief, " To- 
morrow evening at the place you know." He did not 
doubt that whichever track he followed, whether that 
which went up or that which descended the Saone, would 
lead, if the snow did not melt too quickly, to the place of 
meeting. Whether they went together or separately, the 
companions of Jehu would meet in the end. He went 
hack, following his own tracks, and ordered the conductor 
to put on the boots which had been thrown upon the 
road by the false postilion, to get on the horse and take 
the coach to the next stopping-place, which was Belle- 
ville. The quartermaster of the Chasseurs and four of 
the soldiers who knew how to write were to accompany 
the conductor, to sign the report with him. He forbade 
them absolutely to mention him or what had become of him, 
for he did not wish to put the robbers on their guard 
against his future plans. The remainder of the escort- 
were to take the body of the chief of brigade to Macon, 
and make there another report which should agree with 
that of the conductor, and in which there should be no 
more mention of Roland than in the other. 

This order given, the young man caused one of his 
soldiers to dismount from the horse whose appearance 
pleased him best. Then he reloaded his pistols, which he 
put into the saddle in place of those of the horse's 
owner. After which, promising the conductor and the 
soldiers a prompt vengeance, — dependent, however, upon 
the manner in which they kept his secret, — he mounted 
his horse and disappeared in the same direction that he 
had already taken once before. 

When Roland reached the point where the two divi- 
sions separated, he had to make a choice between the trails. 
He chose that which went down the Saone towards Belle- 
ville. He had an excellent reason for making this choice. 



222 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



In the first place, he was nearer Belleville than Macon. 
Then again, he had stayed twenty-four hours in Macon, 
and might be recognized there, while he had never been 
at Belleville except to change horses when he had hap- 
pened to pass through in a post-chaise. 

All that we have just related had taken scarcely an 
hour. Eight o'clock in the evening rang out from the 
clock in Thoissey when Roland hastened in pursuit of the 
fugitives. The road was well defined. Five or six horses 
had left their tracks upon the snow. One of these horses 
was a pacer. Roland jumped the two or three brooks 
which intersected the plain that he was crossing to get to 
Belleville. When near Belleville he stopped. A new 
division had taken place there. Two of the six riders 
had gone to the right ; that is, away from the Saone. 
Four had gone to the left ; that is, they had continued on 
the way towards Belleville. At the entrance of Belle- 
ville a third division had taken place. Three riders had 
gone around the town; one alone had followed the 
street. 

Roland kept to the one who had followed the street, 
very certain of being able to regain the track of the 
others. The one who had followed the street had stopped 
at a pretty house between a courtyard and garden, bear- 
ing the number 67. He had rung, and some one had 
come to open the gate. The steps of the person who had 
come to open it for him could be seen through the gate, 
and beside these footsteps was another track, — that of 
the horse which they had taken to the stable. Evidently 
one of the companions of Jehu had stopped there. 

Roland, by going to the mayor and stating his author- 
ity, could have the man arrested at once. But that was not 
his desire. He did not care to arrest a single individual ; 
he wanted to take the whole troop with one drawing of 



LOOKING FOR A TRAIL. 



223 



the net. He engraved upon his memory the number 67, 
and continued on his way. He crossed the whole town 
and went a hundred paces beyond the last house without 
seeing any other tracks. He was about to retrace his steps 
when it occurred to him that these tracks, if they were to 
reappear at all, would do so at the head of the bridge. 
In truth, at the head of the bridge he recognized the 
track of the three horses. They were the same, for one 
of the horses paced. 

Eoland galloped along the track of those whom he 
was pursuing. When he got to Monceaux he found they 
had taken the same precaution, — they had gone around 
the village. But Roland was too good a bloodhound to 
be uneasy at this, and kept upon his way, and at the 
other end of Monceaux he found again the fugitives' 
tracks. A little way before they reached Chatillon one of 
the three horses left the road, turned to the right, and 
went towards a little chateau situated upon a hill, a few 
steps distant from the road from Chatillon to Trevoux. 
This time the remaining horsemen, thinking that they 
had done enough to turn from the track any one who 
might have followed them, had quietly crossed Chatillon 
and taken the road to Neuville. 

The direction followed by the fugitives delighted Eo- 
land. They were evidently on the way to Bourg, for if 
they were not going there they would have taken the road 
to Marlieux. Now, Bourg was the headquarters which Eo- 
land himself had chosen as the centre of his operations. 
It was his own city ; and with the vividness of childish re- 
membrance he knew every bush, every ruin, and every cave 
in the neighborhood. At Neuville the fugitives had gone 
around the village. Eoland did not disturb himself at 
this manoeuvre, which he had already met with and over- 
come ; but on the other side of Neuville he found only 



224 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



a single track of a horse. He could not, however, be 
mistaken in this one, — it was the one that paced. 

Sure of finding the track which he abandoned for a 
moment, Roland retraced his steps. The two friends had 
separated at the road to Yannas ; one had followed it, and 
the other had gone around the village, and, as we have said, 
had returned to the road to Bourg. This was the one 
which he would have to follow ; and besides, the gait of 
his horse afforded one facility the more to the pursuer, 
since his step could not be confounded with that of others. 
Then he took the road to Bourg, and from Neuville to 
Bourg there was no other village except Saint-Denis. It 
was not probable that the last of the fugitives would go 
farther than Bourg. 

Roland pursued his way with all the more eagerness 
since he was visibly approaching the end. In fact, the 
rider had not gone around Bourg, but had boldly entered 
the city. Then it seemed to Roland that the horseman 
had hesitated as to the way which he should take, unless 
the hesitation was only a ruse to conceal his track. But 
at the end of ten minutes employed in following these 
turns and windings Roland was sure of one fact. It was 
not a ruse ; it was hesitation. The footsteps of a man had 
come through a cross street. The rider and the man on 
foot had talked together for a moment, and then the rider 
had caused the other to serve as his guide. From this 
moment the steps of the man went beside those of the ani- 
mal. They both stopped at the inn of the Belle- Alliance. 

Roland remembered that it was to this inn that they 
had brought the wounded horse after the attack of the 
Carronnieres. In all probability, therefore, there was 
some understanding between the inn-keeper and the 
companions of Jehu. And, again in all probability, the 
traveller would stay there until the evening of the fol- 



LOOKING FOR A TRAIL. 



225 



lowing day. Roland knew from his own weariness that 
the other must have rest. And Roland, in order not to 
fatigue his horse and also to keep the track that he was 
following, had taken six hours to make the dozen leagues. 

Three o'clock sounded from Notre Dame. What was 
Roland to do 1 Should he stop at some hotel in the 
town 1 Impossible ; he was too well known at Bourg ; 
and besides, his horse, equipped as a hunter, would rouse 
suspicion. One of the conditions of his success was that 
his presence should be completely unknown. He might 
hide in the Chateau of Noires-Fontaines, and there con- 
ceal himself from observation. But could he be sure of 
the discretion of the servants? Michel and Jacques 
would keep still; Roland was sure of them. Amelie 
would hold her tongue ; but Charlotte, the turnkey's 
daughter, would she not chatter ] It was three o'clock in 
the morning, and everybody was sleeping. The young- 
man's surest way would be to enter into communication 
with Michel. Michel would find some means of conceal- 
ing him. 

To the great regret of his horse, who had doubtless 
recognized the inn, Roland turned him around and took 
the road to Pont-d'Ain. When he passed before the 
church of Brou he threw a look towards the barracks of 
the police. In all probability they and their captain were 
sleeping the sleep of the just. He crossed, a little wing of 
the forest which projected beyond the road; the snow 
softened the noise of the horse's steps. When he reached 
the other side of it he saw two men who were going along 
the ditch, carrying a deer which was hung to a little tree 
by its four paws, tied together. He thought he recognized 
the form of one of these men. He spurred on his horse to 
overtake them. The two men had keen ears. They 
turned around, saw a horseman who seemed to have a 
vol. n. — 15 



226 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



grudge against them, threw the animal into the ditch, and 
fled across the fields, regaining the forest of Seillon. 

" Hallo, Michel ! " cried Roland, more and more con- 
vinced that it was his gardener. 

Michel stopped short. The other man continued on his 
way across the fields. 

" Hallo, Jacques ! " cried Roland. 

The other man stopped. If they had "been recognized 
it was useless to fly. Besides, the call had not been hos- 
tile ; the voice was rather friendly than otherwise. 

" Why," said Jacques, " it sounds like M. Roland." 

" And it is himself," said Michel. 

The two men stopped their flight towards the woods, 
and returned to the road. 

Roland had not heard what the two poachers said, but 
he had guessed it. " Yes, it is I," he cried. 

A moment more, and Michel and Jacques were with 
him. Father and son both asked questions at once, and 
it must be confessed that they were excusable. Roland 
dressed as a citizen, and mounted upon a hunter at three 
o'clock in the morning, on the road from Bourg to JSToires- 
Fontaines ! The young officer cut short the questions. 

" Silence, you poachers ! " he said, " put this deer up be- 
hind me and lead the way to the house. No one must know 
of my presence at Noires-Fontaines, not even my sister." 

Roland spoke with the authority of a soldier, and they 
each knew that when he gave an order there was no gain- 
saying it. They picked up the deer and put it on the horse 
behind Roland, and the two men, trotting briskly along, fol- 
lowed the slow trot of the horse. There was scarcely a 
quarter of a league more to traverse. It took ten minutes. 

At a hundred paces from the house Roland stopped. 
The two men were sent ahead as scouts to make sure 
that eveiything was quiet. When the exploration was 



LOOKING FOR A TRAIL. 



227 



finished, they made a sign to Roland to come. He ad- 
vanced, dismounted from his horse, found the door of 
the pavilion open, and went in. Michel led the horse 
to the stable, and brought the deer to the pantry ; for 
Michel belonged to that honorable class of poachers who 
hunt their game for the pleasure of killing it, and not for 
the sake of selling it. They need not have disturbed 
themselves either about the horse or the deer. Amelie 
paid no more attention to what was passing in the stable 
than to what was set before her at table. 

In the mean time Jacques lighted a fire. When he came 
back, Michel brought the remnant of a leg of mutton and 
a half-dozen eggs to make an omelet. Jacques made ready 
a bed in a small room. Roland warmed himself, and ate 
his supper without uttering a word. 

The two men looked at. him with an astonishment which 
was not exempt from uneasiness. A report of the expedi- 
tion to Seillon had got abroad, and it was suspected that it 
was Roland who had led it. It was evident that he was 
returning now from some expedition of the same kind. 

When Roland had finished eating he raised his head 
and called Michel. " Here ! are you there] " he said. 

" I am waiting for orders." 

"Here are my orders; listen attentively." 

"Iam all ears." 

" It is a question of life or death. Nay, more : it is a 
question of my honor ! " 
" Speak, Monsieur Roland." 

Roland drew out his watch. " It is five o'clock. When 
they open the inn of the Belle-Alliance, you must be 
there as if you were just passing by. You will stop and 
talk with whoever opens the gate." 

" It will probably be Pierre." 

" Whether it is Pierre or not, you will find out for me 



228 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHCJ. 



what traveller has come there on a pacing horse. Do you 
know what a pacing horse is 1 '* 

" Oh, yes ; it is a horse that walks like a bear, with the 
two legs on the same side at once." 

"Good; you can find out also, can you not, whether 
the traveller is going to leave this morning, or whether he 
will pass the day at the hotel?" 

" Certainly I can find out." 

" Well, when you know that, come and tell me ; but 
preserve strict silence as to my presence here. If any 
one asks news of me, say that a letter came from me yes- 
terday, and that I am at Paris with the First Consul." 

" Very well." 

Michel went away. Eoland lay down and went to 
sleep, leaving Jacques to guard the pavilion. 

When Roland awoke Michel, had returned. He had 
found out all that his master wanted to know. The horse- 
man who had arrived in the night was to go away again in 
the evening ; and upon the hotel register which every inn- 
keeper was forced to keep regularly at this period had 
been written : " Saturday, 30th Pluviose, ten o'clock in 
the evening ; Citizen Valensolle, coming from Lyons, go- 
ing to Geneva." Thus an alibi had been prepared, since 
the register evidenced that Citizen Valensolle had arrived 
at ten o'clock in the evening, and since it was impossible 
that he could have stopped the mail-coach at the Maison 
Blanche at half-past eight, and have entered the hotel of 
the Belle-Alliance at ten o'clock. 

But what occupied Roland's thoughts more than any- 
thing else was the discovery that the one whom he had 
followed for a part of the night, and whose retreat and 
name he had just discovered, was no other than Alfred de 
Barjols' second, who in all probability had played the part 
of the ghost in the monastery of Seillon. 



LOOKING FOR A TRAIL. 



229 



The companions of Jehu were not ordinary thieves, 
therefore, but on the contrary, as report had testified, 
gentlemen of good family, who, while the noble Bretons 
risked their lives in the west for the royalist cause, defied 
the scaffold in their turn to send to the combatants the 
money which they collected in their dangerous expedi- 
tions at the other end of France. 



230 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

AN INSPIRATION. 

As we have seen, in his pursuit on the preceding night 
Roland might have arrested one or two of those whom he 
was following. He could also have arrested M. de Valen- 
solle, who probably followed Roland's example, and took 
a day of rest after a night of fatigue. All he would have 
to do now would be to write a little note to the captain 
of police, or the chief of brigade of dragoons, who had 
made the expedition with him to Seillon. Their honor 
was engaged in the affair. They could surround M. de 
Valensolle in his bed. It would only cost them two men 
killed or wounded, and M. de Valensolle would be taken. 
But the arrest of M. de Valensolle would give the alarm 
to the rest of the troop, who would instantly put them- 
selves in safety on the other side of the frontier. It was 
therefore better to keep to Roland's first idea ; namely, to 
follow the different trails which would converge at the 
main centre, and at the risk of a fight cast a net over the 
whole company. To do this M. de Valensolle could not 
be arrested. He must be followed in his intended journey 
to Geneva, which was probably only a pretext to evade 
pursuit. 

It was agreed this time that Roland, who, well dis- 
guised though he was, might be recognized, should stay 
at the pavilion, and that Michel and Jacques should for 
this night turn the game. M. de Valensolle would prob- 
ably not start until it was nearly night. 



AN INSPIRATION. 



2'5L 



Roland asked about the life which his sister had led 
since his mother's departure. Since that time Amelie had 
not once left the Chateau of Noires-Fontaines. Her days 
were spent as usual, except for the walks which she had 
taken with Mme. de Montrevel. She rose at seven or 
eight o'clock in the morning, and drew or practised music 
until breakfast ; after breakfast she occupied herself with 
some fancy work, or profited by fair weather to go down 
as far as the river with Charlotte. Sometimes she called 
Michel, had him unfasten a little boat, and wrapped in 
her furs went up the Reyssouse as far as Montagnac, or 
descended it as far as St.-Just, and then returned, without 
having spoken to any one. Then she dined. After din- 
ner she went up to her room with Charlotte, and did not 
again appear. 

At half-past six, therefore, Michel and Jacques could 
leave the place, and none would inquire what had become 
of them. At six o'clock Michel and Jacques took their 
blouses, game-bags, and guns, and started. They had re- 
ceived their instructions. They were to follow the pacing 
horse until they found out where his rider was going, or 
until they lost track of him. Michel was to go and lie 
in ambush opposite the Belle- Alliance, and Jacques was to 
take his station at the junction of the three roads to St.- 
Amour, St.-Claude, and Nantua. The latter is also the 
road to Geneva. It was evident that unless he retraced 
his steps, which was not probable, M. de Valensolle would 
take one of these three roads. 

The father went one way and the son the other. Michel 
went towards the city by the road to Pont-d'Ain, passing 
the church of Brou. Jacques crossed the Reyssouse arid 
followed the right bank of the little river. He soon 
found himself at the acute angle which the three roads 
made in leaving the city. At about the moment when 



232 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the son took his station, the father had arrived at his 
own. 

At that very moment, seven o'clock in the evening, in- 
terrupting the solitude and accustomed silence of the 
Chateau of JSToires-Fontaines, a post-chaise stopped before 
the gate, and a servant in livery pulled the iron chain of 
the hell. It was Michel's duty to open the gate, but 
Michel, as we know, was not there. Amelie and Charlotte 
probably depended upon him, for the ringing of the bell 
was repeated three times before any one opened the gate. 
Finally the maid appeared at the top of the steps. She 
drew near impatiently, calling Michel. Michel did not 
answer. At last, protected by the gate, Charlotte ven- 
tured to approach. In spite of the darkness she recog- 
nized the servant. 

" Ah, is it you, Monsieur James ] " she cried. 

James was Sir John's confidential servant. " Oh, yes," 
said James, " it is I, Mademoiselle Charlotte ; or rather 
it is my lord." 

Just then the carriage door opened and Sir John's voice 
was heard, saying, "Charlotte, be good enough to tell 
your mistress that I have just come from Paris, and have 
stopped here, not in order to be received this evening, 
but to ask her permission to present myself to-morrow, if 
she will be good enough to grant me this favor. Ask 
her what hour will be most convenient for her to see 
me." 

Charlotte had a great respect for Sir John, and she 
therefore hastened to acquit herself of her errand. Five 
minutes afterwards she came back to tell him that he 
would be received on the following day from twelve to 
one o'clock. 

Eoland knew what his visit signified. In his own 
mind the marriage was already decided, and Sir John was 



AN INSPIRATION. 



233 



his brother-in-law. He hesitated a moment whether he 
should make himself known to the Englishman, and 
acquaint him with part of his plans. But he reflected 
that Lord Tanlay was not a man to be left out of any- 
thing of the kind. He wanted to be revenged upou the 
companions of Jehu, and would wish to accompany Roland 
upon the expedition, whatever it was. This expedition 
was sure to be dangerous, and harm might happen to 
him. The good fortune which accompanied Roland, as 
Roland himself had experienced, did not extend to his 
friends. Sir John, grievously wounded, had barely been 
brought back to life, and the chief of brigade had been 
shot dead. He therefore allowed Sir John to go away 
without giving any sign of his existence. 

As for Charlotte, she did not appear at all astonished 
that Michel had not been there to open the gate. They 
were evidently accustomed to his absences, and neither 
the maid nor the mistress were disturbed by them. Ro- 
land explained this degree of carelessness by telling himself 
that Amelie, although she was weak in the face of some 
moral suffering which was unknown to Roland, who attri- 
buted to nervousness the variations in his sister's char- 
acter, yet she would be great and strong before a real 
danger. This was doubtless (he said to himself) the reason 
for the absence of fear which the two girls felt in remain- 
ing alone in the solitary chateau, without other guardians 
than two men who passed their nights in poaching. As 
for us, we know how Michel and his son, by going away, 
ministered to Amelie's wishes much better than if they 
had remained at the chateau ; for their absences left a free 
field for Morgan, and that was all Amelie asked. 

The evening and a part of the night slipped away 
without any news for Roland. He tried to sleep, but 
he slept little. Every moment he thought he heard a 



234 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



door opening. The day was beginning to break when the 
door opened in reality. Michel and Jacques had come 
back. This is what had passed. 

Each one had gone to his post, Michel to the hotel 
gate and Jacques to the cross-roads. A few steps away 
from the inn Michel had found Pierre. In a few words 
he had satisfied himself that M. de Valensolle was still 
there. He had announced that he had a long journey to 
make, and would let his horse rest until night. Pierre 
had no doubt that the traveller was about to set out for 
Geneva, as he had said. Michel proposed to Pierre to 
drink a glass of wine. Pierre accepted, and from that 
time Michel was sure of finding out all he wanted to 
know ; for Pierre had charge of the stable, and nothing 
could be done in his department without his knowledge. 
This knowledge the boy attached to the hotel promised to 
give him, for which favor he was to receive three charges 
of powder to make a fusee. At midnight the traveller 
had not started. The two men had drunk four bottles of 
wine, but Michel was not at all overcome by them. Of 
these four bottles he had found means to empty at least 
three into Pierre's glass, where they did not stay long. 
At midnight Pierre was to go back. But what was Michel 
to do then 1 The shop would shut up, and he had still 
four hours to wait before daylight. Pierre offered Michel 
a bed of straw in the stable. It was warm, and he would 
have a good soft place to lie. Michel accepted. The two 
friends entered by the great gate arm in arm, — Pierre 
staggering, and Michel seeming to do so. At three o'clock 
in the morning the servant called Pierre ; the traveller 
wished to go. Michel pretended that it was time for him 
to go also, and rose. It did not take long for him to 
make his toilet ; he had only to shake off the straw from 
his blouse, game-bag, and hair, after which he took leave 



AN INSPIRATION. 



235 



of his friend Pierre and went to hide at the corner of the 
street. A quarter of an hour later the gate opened, and a 
horseman came out of the hotel ; he rode a pacing horse. 
It was M. de Valensolle , he took the street which led 
to the road to Geneva. Michel followed him without 
attempting to conceal the fact, whistling a hunting-song. 
But he could not run, for he would have been noticed ; as 
the result of this difficulty, in a moment he had lost sight 
of M. de Valensolle. 

There remained Jacques, who was to wait for the young 
man at the cross-roads. But Jacques had been at the 
cross-roads for more than six hours, on a winter's night, 
with the thermometer only a few degrees above zero. 
Would he have had the courage to stand in the snow for 
six hours, kicking his feet against the trees along the 
road ] Michel began to run through the streets and lanes. 
But the horse had been quicker than he. He arrived at 
the cross-roads. The place was solitary. The snow had 
been trampled upon during the whole of the preceding 
day, which had been Sunday, and the horse's tracks were 
lost in the mud of the road. Michel did not try to follow 
the horse, — it was useless ; it would only have been lost 
time. He occupied himself in trying to find out what 
Jacques had been doing. His poacher's eye soon put him 
on the track. 

Jacques had stationed himself at the foot of a tree ; 
but for how long was difficult to say. It was long enough, 
however, for him to have become cold, for the snow was 
beaten down by his great hunting-boots. He had tried to 
warm himself by marching up and down. Then suddenly 
he had doubtless remembered that there was on the other 
side of the road one of those little mud huts in which the 
road-laborers were accustomed to take shelter from the rain. 
He had descended the ditch and crossed the road. The 



236 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



tracks which were lost for a moment in the middle of the 
road, could be followed upon the sides. These tracks went 
diagonally across the road, straight to the hut. It was evi- 
dent that it was in this hut that Jacques had passed the 
night. 

Now, when had he left it 1 And why had he left it ? 
It was hard to say when he had left it, but the dullest fol- 
lower of a trail would have known why he had left it. 
He had left -it to follow M. de Valensolle. The same 
step which had gone towards the hut had left it, and 
gone away in the direction of Ceyzeriat. The horseman 
therefore had really taken the road to Geneva. Jacques' 
footsteps told that clearly ; they were far apart, like those 
of a man who was running, and he followed along the 
sides of the fields the line of trees which would conceal 
him from the sight of the traveller. Opposite an obscure 
public house, one of those inns above whose gate are 
written these words, " Eating and drinking. Lodging for 
man and beast," the steps had stopped. It was evident 
that the traveller had halted at this inn, since twenty 
paces away from there, Jacques himself had stopped be- 
hind a tree. But at the end of a moment, probably at 
the time the gate shut upon the horseman and his steed, 
Jacques had left his tree, crossed the road, this time hesi- 
tatingly and with short steps, and made his way, not 
towards the door, but towards the window. 

Michel put his feet in the footprints of his son and 
thus reached the window. Through the poorly fitting 
shutters it would be possible, when the interior of the 
place was lighted up, to see into it ; but now everything 
was dark, and he could see nothing. It was for the sake 
of looking into the house that Jacques had approached 
the window ; doubtless the room had been lighted for a 
moment, and Jacques had seen in. Where had he gone 



AN INSPIRATION. 



237 



when lie left the window 1 He had gone around the house 
along the wall, and could easily be followed on this ex- 
cursion, for the snow was untrodden. It was not difficult 
to guess what his object had been in thus going around 
the house ; Jacques, being a boy of sense, had thought 
that the horseman would not set out at three o'clock in 
the morning, saying that he was going to Geneva, only to 
stop at a quarter of a league from the town in such an inn 
as this. He must have gone out by some back door. 
Jacques, then, had gone around the wall in the hope of 
finding on the other side of the house- some trace of the 
horse, or at least of the rider. And in fact, leading from 
the little back gate towards the forest which extends from 
Cotrez to Ceyzeriat, it was easy to follow the footsteps, 
which went in a straight line towards the edge of the 
wood. The steps were those of a man elegantly shod, 
and shod like a rider. His spurs had left traces in the 
snow. Jacques had not hesitated, but had followed the 
steps. Michel could see the traces of his great shoes near 
those of the well-made boots, — the large peasant foot 
beside the well-shod one of the citizen. 

It was five o'clock in the morning, and daylight. Michel 
resolved to go no farther. When Jacques was once upon 
the trail, the young poacher was as good as the old one. 
Michel made a wide circuit upon the plain as if he was 
returning from Ceyzeriat, and resolved to enter the inn 
and wait for Jacques there. Jacques would understand 
that his father must have followed him, and that he must 
have stopped at the solitary house. Michel knocked upon 
the window-shutter, and made them open the door for 
him. He knew the landlord, for he was accustomed to 
seeing him in his nocturnal rambles ; he asked for a bottle 
of wine, complained of having found no game, and while he 
was drinking asked permission to wait for his son, who was 



238 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



out poaching in his turn, and would perhaps have been 
luckier than he. He of course obtained permission without 
any difficulty. Michel had taken the precaution to have 
the shutters open on the side towards the road. 

A moment later steps were heard upon the pavement. It 
was Jacques. His father called him. Jacques had been as 
unfortunate as his father, and had killed nothing. Jacques 
was frozen. An armful of wood was thrown upon the fire, 
and a second glass brought. Jacques warmed himself, and 
drank. Then, as they were obliged to get back to the 
Chateau of Noires-Fontaines before daylight, so that no one 
should perceive the absence of the two poachers, Michel 
paid for the bottle of wine and the fire, and they started. 
Neither of them had said to the landlord a single word of 
what was in their thoughts, and no one suspected that 
they had been in quest of anything but game. But when 
they were on the other side of the threshold Michel ques- 
tioned his son. 

Then Jacques told him that he had followed the tracks 
into the forest, but that when he came to a clearing, there 
had suddenly risen up before him a man armed with a 
gun, who had asked him what he was doing in the woods 
at that hour. Jacques had replied that he was looking 
for game. " Then go farther," the man had said, " for, as 
you see, this place is taken." Jacques had recognized the 
justice of the claim, and had gone a hundred feet farther. 
But just as he was turning to the left to go back into 
the inclosure from which he had been turned aside, an- 
other man, armed like the first, bad also risen up before 
him, asking him the same questions. Jacques had no 
other reply to make than what he had already made, — 
" I am looking for game." The man had then pointed 
towards the edge of the forest and had said almost threat- 
eningly : "If I should advise you, my young friend, it 



AN INSPIRATION. 



239 



would be to go yonder. I think you will do better there 
than here." Jacques had followed the advice, or at least 
had appeared to do so, for when he arrived at the place 
indicated he had gone along the ditch ; and then con- 
vinced of the impossibility of taking up again, at least at 
present, M. de Valensolle's track, he had gone out into the 
opening, had come upon the high-road, and crossing the 
fields had returned to the inn, where he hoped to find his 
father, as he had done in fact. They had reached the 
Chateau of Noires-Fontaines, as we already know, just as 
the first rays of light shone through the shutters. 

All this was related to Roland, together with a mass of 
details which we omit, and which convinced the young 
officer that the two men armed with guns, who had risen 
up at Jacques' approach, were none other — poachers 
though they seemed to be — than companions of Jehu. 
But where could their haunt be 1 ? There was no aban- 
doned convent there, nor any other ruins. 

Suddenly Roland struck his head. " Oh, how stupid 
lam!" he said ; " why did n't I think of that]" A tri- 
umphant smile crossed his lips, and addressing the two 
men, who were in despair at not having been able to bring 
him more precise information, he said : " My boys, I know 
all that I want to know. Go to bed and sleep well, for you 
have indeed deserved it." 

In his turn setting the example, Roland slept like a 
man who has just solved a problem of the highest import- 
ance, and which has puzzled him for a long time. It had 
occurred to him that the companions of Jehu had aban- 
doned the monastery of Seillon for the cave of Ceyzeriat ; 
and at the same time he remembered a subterranean pas- 
sage which existed between that cave and the church of 
Brou. 



240 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTEE XX. 

RECONNOITRING. 

That same day, in accordance with the permission that 
had been granted him on the preceding night, Sir John 
presented himself about noon at Mile, de MontrevePs. 

Everything took place as Morgan had wished. Sir 
John was received as a friend of the family, whose pre- 
tentions to the hand of the daughter were considered an 
honor. Amelie opposed neither her brother's nor her 
mother's desires, nor the orders of the First Consul ; but 
she pleaded the state of her health as an excuse for ask- 
ing for time. Lord Tanlay bowed. He had obtained as 
much as he had dared to hope, and he would conform to 
her wishes. But he guessed that his prolonged presence at 
Bourg would be unsuitable, — Amelie, still under the pre- 
text of ill health, being so far from her mother and 
brother. Consequently he told her that he would come 
and see her again on the next day, and would go away 
that same afternoon. He would wait for another inter- 
view with her until she went to Paris, or until her mother 
returned to Bourg. The latter seemed the more probable, 
as Amelie said that she needed springtime and her native 
air to aid in the recovery of her health. 

Thus to the perfect delicacy of Sir John, Amelie's desires 
and those of Morgan were fulfilled, and the two lovers 
had before them time and solitude. 

Michel learned these details from Charlotte, and Poland 
learned them from Michel. Roland resolved to allow Sir 



RECONNOITRING. 



241 



John to go away before attempting anything further. But 
this did not prevent him from trying to solve the final 
doubt. 

When night had come, Roland took a hunting-costume, 
threw over it Michel's blouse, shaded his face under a 
large hat, put a pair of pistols into the belt which held 
his hunting-knife, and which was concealed under his 
blouse, and ventured upon the road from Noires-Fontaines 
to Bourg. He stopped at the barracks of the police, and 
asked to speak to the captain. The captain was in his 
room. Roland went up and revealed his identity to him. 
Then, as it was only eight o'clock in the evening, and he 
might be recognized by some passer-by, he put out the 
lamp. The two men remained in darkness. The captain 
already knew what had taken place three days before on 
the road to Lyons, and being certain that Roland had not 
been killed, he was awaiting his visit. To his great aston- 
ishment, Roland had come to ask only one thing of him, 
or rather two things, — the key of the church of Bourg, 
and a crowbar. The captain gave him the desired objects, 
and offered to accompany him on his excursion, but Ro- 
land refused. It was evident that he had been betrayed 
by some one at the time of his expedition to the Maison 
Blanche, and he would not expose himself to a second be- 
trayal. He also strictly enjoined the captain to tell no 
one of his presence, and to wait for his return even though 
he should be delayed for an hour or two. The captain 
promised. 

Roland, with the key in his right hand and the crowbar 
in his left, noiselessly reached the side door of the church, 
opened it, shut it again, and found himself face to face 
with a wall of hay. He listened. The deepest silence 
reigned in the solitary church. He recalled his youthful 
memories, turned to the east, put the key in his pocket, 

VOL. II. — 16 



242 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



and climbed up the wall of hay, which was about fifteen 
feet high and formed a kind of platform. Then, as if he 
was sliding ' down hill, he slipped down to the ground, 
which was paved with tombstones. The choir was 
empty of hay, thanks to the gallery, which protected it 
on one side,, and the walls which enclosed it on the 
right and left. The door of the gallery was open, and 
Roland reached the choir without difficulty. He found 
himself face to face with the monument of Philibert le 
Beau. At the prince's head was a great square stone. It 
was the one by means of which the descent was made 
into the subterranean passage. 

Eoland knew this passage, for when he came to the 
stone he knelt down, feeling with his hand for the place 
where the pavements joined. He found it, stood up 
again, put the crowbar into the groove, and raised the 
stone. With one hand he held it above his head, while 
he descended into the vault. Then he slowly let it fall 
back again. 

It seemed as if this nocturnal visitor was voluntarily 
separating himself from the world of the living and going 
down into that of the dead. And what would have 
seemed strangest of all to any one who could have seen 
into the shadows, was the coolness of this man, who was 
going through the midst of the dead in order to discover 
the living ; and who, in spite of the obscurity, the soli- 
tude, and the silence of the place, did not shudder even 
when he came in contact with the funeral marbles. He 
felt his way through the midst of the tombs until he found 
the gate which led into the subterranean passage. He ex- 
amined the lock. It was simply latched. He put the 
extremity of his crowbar between the latch and the 
staple, and pushed lightly. The gate opened. He drew 
the door towards him, but without shutting it, in order to 



RECONNOITRING. 



243 



be able to retrace his steps, and stood the crowbar in the 
corner. Then he listened intently ; his pupils dilated, and 
every sense was strained by the desire to hear, the need 
of breathing, and the impossibility of seeing. He ad- 
vanced slowly, holding a loaded pistol in one hand, and 
feeling with the other along the side of the wall. A few 
drops of icy water filtering through the vaulted roof of the 
passage and falling upon his hands and shoulders told him 
that he was passing beneath the Eeyssouse. At the end 
of a quarter of an hour he found the door which led from 
the subterranean passage into the quarry, He stopped 
for a moment ; he breathed more freely, and he seemed 
to hear far-off noises, and to see upon the pillars of stone 
which sustained the vault a reflection of moving lights. 

One would have thought, seeing only the form of this 
dark watcher, that he hesitated ; but if one could have 
seen his face, it would have been evident that the ex- 
pression on it was one of hope. He started again, direct- 
ing his steps towards the lights which he thought he had 
seen, and the noises he thought he had heard. As he ap- 
proached, the sounds reached him more distinctly, and 
the light appeared brighter. It was evident that the 
quarry was inhabited. But by whom ] He did not know 
yet, but he was about to find out. He was not more than 
ten feet from the granite clearing w T hich we saw at our 
first descent into the cave of Ceyzeriat. He clung against 
the wall, advancing imperceptibly. In the midst of the 
darkness he looked like a living bas-relief. At last his 
head passed beyond the corner, and his eyes fell upon 
what might be called the camp of the companions of 
Jehu. There were ten or twelve men taking supper. 

Roland felt a wild wish to throw himself into the midst 
of these men, and fight them single-handed, to the death. 
But he restrained this insane desire, drawing back his 



244 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



head as slowly as he had put it forward, and with a light 
in his eyes and joy in his heart, without having been 
heard or suspected, he retraced his steps, taking again the 
road which he had just travelled. 

Thus all was clear to Roland, — the abandonment of 
the monastery of Seillon, the disappearance of M. de 
Valensolle, the pretended poachers placed in the neigh- 
borhood of the entrance to the cave of Ceyzeriat. This 
time he would take his vengeance, — take it terribly, 
mortally. Even as he suspected that he had been spared, 
he would give the order to spare these. Only, they 
had spared him for life ; but he would spare them for 
death. 

When Roland was half way back he thought he heard 
a noise behind him. He turned around and seemed to see 
the flashing of a light. He hastened his steps. When 
he was once past the gate he could not lose his way. He 
would be no longer in the quarry with its thousand turns, 
but in a narrow passage, straight, and leading to the 
burial vault. At the end of ten minutes he passed once 
more under the river, and a few minutes afterwards he 
touched the gate with the end of his fingers. He took 
up the crowbar where he had left it, entered the 
vault, drew the gate after him, shut it softly and noise- 
lessly, and, guided by the tombs, found the staircase, 
pushed up the stone with his head, and was once more 
on a level with the living. There, it was comparatively 
light. He left the choir, shut the door of the quarry in 
order to leave it in the same state in which he had found 
it, climbed up the slope, crossed the platform, and got 
down again upon the other side. He had kept the key ; 
he opened the door, and found himself outside. 

The captain of police was waiting for him. He talked 
for a few minutes with him, and then they both went out 



RECONNOITRING. 



245 



together. They returned to Bourg by a roundabout way 
in order not to be seen, going through the Rue de la 
Revolution, the Rue de la Liberte, and the Rue d'Espagne. 
Then Roland concealed himself in one of the angles of 
the Rue du Greffe, and waited. 

The captain of police continued on his way alone. He 
went to the Rue des Ursules, which has for the last seven 
years been called the Rue des Casernes. It was there that 
the chief of brigade of the dragoons lodged, and he had 
just gone to bed as the captain entered his room. The 
latter said a few words to him in a low tone, and the chief 
of brigade hastily dressed himself and went out. As the 
two men appeared once more upon the square, a shadow 
detached itself from the wall and approached them. This 
shadow was Roland. The three men conferred together 
for ten minutes, — Roland giving his orders, and the two 
others listening and approving. Then they separated. 
The chief of brigade went back to his own house, and 
Roland and the captain of police, by a roundabout way, 
regained the road to Pont-d'Ain. 

Roland left the brigadier of police at his barracks, and 
continued on his way. Twenty minutes later, in order 
not to awaken Amelie, instead of ringing the bell he 
knocked upon Michel's shutters. Michel opened the 
shutters, and with a single bound Roland, devoured with 
that fever which seized upon him when he thought or 
even dreamed of danger, leaped into the pavilion. 

He would not have awakened Amelie, however, even if 
he had rung at the gate, for Amelie was not asleep. 
Charlotte, who had also just come from the town under 
the pretext of going to see her father, but in reality to 
take a letter to Morgan, had found him and brought back 
his reply to her mistress. Amelie read his reply. It was 
as follows : — 



246 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



My Love, — Yes, all goes well as far as you are concerned, 
for you are an angel. But I fear that everything is going badly 
on my part, for I am a demon. It is absolutely necessary that 
I should see you, press you in my arms, hold you to my heart. 
I do not know what presentiment has seized me, but I am sad 
enough, to-day. 

Send Charlotte to-morrow to make sure that Sir John has 
indeed gone away; then, when you are certain of his departure, 
make the accustomed signal. 

Do not be frightened ; do not speak to me of the snow, nor 
tell me that they will see my footsteps. It is not I this time 
who will go to you ; it is you who will come to me. Do you 
understand ? You can walk in the park, and no one will track 
your footsteps. Put on your warmest shawl and your thickest 
furs ; and then, in the boat under the willow-trees, we will 
pass an hour in an exchange of rSles. Usually, I tell you my 
fears and you tell me your hopes ; to-morrow, my adored 
Amelie, you will tell me your hopes, and then I will tell you 
my fears. As soon as you have put the signal, come down. I 
will wait for you at Montagnac, and to go from there to the 
Reyssouse will only take me five minutes. 

Au revoir, my dear Amelie ! If you had not met me, you 
might have been the happiest of the happy. Fate has cast me 
in your path, and, I am afraid, has made a martyr of you. 

Your Charles. 

Come to-morrow, will you not, — unless some superhuman 
obstacle should prevent. 



MORGAN'S PRESENTIMENTS REALIZED. 247 



CHAPTER XXI. 

how morgan's presentiments were realized. 

Often nothing can be calmer and more serene than the 
hours which precede a great tempest. The day was quiet 
and beautiful, — one of those fine days in February, when, 
in spite of the stinging cold of the atmosphere and the 
white shroud which covers the earth, the sun smiles upon 
men and gives promise of Spring. 

Sir John came to pay his farewell visit to Amelie at 
noon. He believed he had Amelie's promise, and that 
was enough for him. He was impatient, to be sure ; but 
Amelie, in allowing his addresses, although she had put 
off the day of their union to some time in the future, 
filled the measure of his hopes to the brim. He de- 
pended, moreover, upon the First Consul's wishes and 
upon Roland's friendship. He was therefore returning to 
Paris to pay his court to Mme. de Montrevel, since he 
could not be with Amelie. 

A quarter of an hour after Sir John had left the Chateau 
of Noires-Fontaines, Charlotte also .took the road to Bourg. 
About four o'clock she came to report to Amelie that she 
had seen with her ow r n eyes Sir John getting into the 
carriage at the door of the Hotel de France, on his way 
to Macon. Amelie might therefore be perfectly at ease 
on that score. She had tried to inspire in Morgan a tran- 
quillity which she did not feel herself. From the day on 
which Charlotte had told her of Roland's presence at 
Bourg, she, like Morgan, had had a presentiment that 



248 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



something terrible was about to occur. She knew all the 
details of what had happened at the monastery of Seillon. 
She knew that her brother and her lover were engaged 
in a terrible struggle, and although, thanks to the safe- 
conduct given by the chief of the companions of Jehu, 
she did not tremble for the life of her brother, she feared 
for that of her lover. Moreover, she had heard of the 
stopping of the mail-coach from Chambery and the death 
of the general of brigade of Macon. She knew that her 
brother had been saved, and that he had disappeared. 
She had received no letter from him. This disappearance 
and this silence, for her who knew Roland well, was worse 
than open and declared war. As for Morgan, she had not 
seen him since the scene which we have related, in which 
she had promised to send arms to him, wherever he should 
be, if he were condemned to death. Therefore Amelie 
looked forward with as much impatience as Morgan him- 
self to this interview which he had demanded. 

As soon as she thought that Michel and his son had 
gone to bed, Ameiie put the lighted candles in the four 
windows, which were to serve as a signal for Morgan. 
Then, as her lover had advised, she wrapped herself in a 
cashmere brought by her brother from the battlefield of 
the Pyramids, which he had himself taken from the head 
of a bey, who had been killed by him. She threw over her 
cashmere a fur cloak, left Charlotte to see what would 
happen while she was gone, and hoping that nothing would 
happen, she opened the park gate and went towards the 
river. During the day she had been as far as the Beys- 
souse two or three times, in order to make a sufficient 
number of footsteps so that those which were made by 
her at night would not be noticed. She therefore de- 
scended, if not tranquilly, at least boldly, the slope which 
led to the Reyssouse ; and when she reached the border of 



morgan's presentiments realized. 



249 



the river she looked for the boat moored under the willow- 
trees. A man was waiting there ; it was Morgan. With 
two strokes of his oars he reached a place where she could 
descend. She threw herself forward, and he caught her 
in his arms. 

The first thing the young girl saw was the joyous gleam 
which seemed to illuminate the face of her lover. " Oh," 
she cried, " you have something delightful to tell me ! " 

" Why do you think so, dear love 1 " asked Morgan, 
with his gentlest smile. 

" There is in your face, my beloved Charles, something 
more than the happiness of seeing me again." 

" You are right," said Morgan, unfastening the boat's 
chain from the trunk of the willow-tree and letting the 
blades of the oars fall into the water. Then taking Amelie 
in his arms he said : " You are right, Amelie, and my pre- 
sentiments have deceived me. Oh, blind and feeble that 
we are ! It is at the very moment when we are about to 
touch happiness that we despair and doubt." 

" Ah, speak, speak ! " said Amelie, " what has happened 1 " 

" Do you remember, my Amelie, what you replied in 
our last interview when I spoke to you of flying, and 
feared that you disliked the plan? " 

"Yes, I remember. I told you, Charles, that I was 
yours ; that if I had such a dislike I would overcome it." 

" I told you then that I had engagements which would 
prevent me from going away ; that even as they were 
bound to me I was bound to them ; that there was a man 
to whom we all owed absolute obedience, and that this 
man was the future king of France, Louis XVIII." 

"Yes, you told me all that." 

"Well, we are released from our oath of obedience, 
Amelie, — not only by King Louis XVIII., but by our 
general, Georges Cadoudal." 



250 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



u Oh, my love ! then you will become again a man 
like all other men, — greater than all other men ! 99 

" I shall become a simple outlaw, Amelie. There is 
nothing to be hoped for, for us, from the Yende'ean or 
Breton amnesty." 

" And why not % " 

" We are not soldiers, my beloved ; we are not even 
rebels. We are companions of Jehu." 
Amelie uttered a sigh. 

"We are bandits, brigands, robbers of mail-coaches," 
went on Morgan, with visible meaning. 

" Silence!" said Amelie, putting her hand upon her 
lover's mouth, — ''silence! do not let us speak of this. 
Tell me why your king releases you from your engage- 
ments, and why your general dismisses you." 

" The First Consul has been wanting to see Cadoudal. 
At first he sent your brother to him to make proposals to 
him. Cadoudal refused to enter into any arrangements ; 
but, like us, he has since received from Louis XVIII. the 
order to cease hostilities. At the same time with this order 
there came a new message from the First Consul. This 
message was a safe conduct for the Vendeean general, and 
an invitation to come to Paris. In fact, it was like a 
treaty between two powers. Cadoudal accepted, and must 
now be on the road to Paris ; and therefore if there is not 
peace, there is at least a truce." 

" Oh, what joy, Charles ! " 

" Do not rejoice too much, my love." 

"And why not?" 

"Because that order to cease hostilities came — do you 
know why?" 
"ls T o." 

" Well, M. Fouche is a very wise man ; and he knew 
that, not being able to conquer us, he would be obliged 



MORGAN'S PRESENTIMENTS REALIZED. 251 

to dishonor us. He has organized false companions of 
Jehu, whom he has let loose in Maine and Anjou, and 
who are not contented with taking government money, 
but who rob travellers, who enter chateaux and farm- 
houses by night, who put the feet of the proprietors of 
these farms and chateaux against burning coals, and draw 
from them by torture the secret of the place where their 
money is concealed; while these men, these miserable 
fellows, these bandits, these torturers, take our name, and 
it is reported that they fight for the same principle, — with 
the result that M. Fouche's police puts us not only be- 
yond the law, but beyond honor also." 
"Oh!" 

u This is what I had to tell you, my dear Amelie, be- 
fore proposing to you for a second time to fly together. In 
the eyes of France, in the eyes of the foreigner, in the 
eyes of the very prince whom we have served and for 
whom we have risked the scaffold, we shall be in the 
future — nay, we probably are already — miserable ban- 
dits worthy only of the guillotine." 

" Yes ; but to me, my beloved Charles, you are a de- 
voted man, a man of convictions, a determined Eoyalist, 
who has continued to fight after everybody else put down 
arms. To me you are the loyal Baron of Saint-Hermine ; 
or to me, if you like it .better so, you are the noble, cour- 
ageous, and invincible Morgan." 

" Ah, that is what I wanted to know, my beloved ! 
Then you will not hesitate an instant, in spite of the in- 
famous cloud which they are trying to raise between us 
and honor] You will not hesitate, then, I will not say 
to give yourself to me, since you have done that already, 
but to be my wife 1 " 

" What are you saying 1 Not an instant ! not a second ! 
It would be the joy of my soul, the happiness of my life ! 



252 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Your wife ? I am your wife before God. God will fulfil 
all rny desires on the day when he permits me to be your 
wife before men.'* 

Morgan fell on his knees. "Well," he said, "at your 
feet, Amelie, with clasped hands and the most supplicating 
voice of my heart, I come to say to you : Amelie, will 
you fly 1 Amelie, will you leave France 1 Amelie, will 
you be my wife 1 " 

Amelie sat upright, and put her hands to her forehead, 
as if the violence of the blood which was flowing to her 
brain would cause it to burst. 

Morgan seized her hands, and looked at her uneasily. 
" Bo you hesitate 1 " he asked, in a dull, trembling, 
broken voice. 

" No ! no ! not a second ! " cried Amelie, resolutely. 
" I am yours in the past, in the future, in everything and 
everywhere. But the blow is all the more violent from 
being unexpected." 

" Reflect well, Amelie, what I propose to you ! I ask 
you to abandon your country and your family, — all that 
is dearest and most sacred to you. In following me you 
will leave the chateau where you were born, the mother 
who cared for you in your infancy, the brother who loves 
you, and who when he knows that you are the wife of an 
outlaw will perhaps hate you, and will certainly scorn you." 

As he spoke thus, Morgan looked anxiously and ques- 
tioningly at Amelie's face. That face gradually lighted 
with a sweet smile, and as it turned from heaven to earth 
bent over the still kneeling man. 

"Oh, Charles ! n said the young girl, in a voice as sweet 
as the murmur of the river which ran clear and limpid 
beneath her feet, — " the love which comes directly from 
God must be a very powerful thing, since, in spite of the 
terrible words which you have just pronounced, I say to 



MORGAN'S PRESENTIMENTS REALIZED. 253 



you without fear, without hesitation, almost without re- 
gret : Charles, here I am ! Charles, I am yours ! Charles, 
when shall we go 1 " 

" Amelie, our destinies are not such that we can stop 
and discuss them. If you go, if you are to follow me, it 
must be this instant. To-morrow we must be on the 
other side of the frontier." 

" And our means of flight 1 " 

" At Montagnac I have two horses already saddled, — 
one for you, Amelie, and one for me. I have letters of 
credit to the amount of two hundred thousand francs upon 
London or Vienna. We will go wherever you wish." 

" Where you are, Charles, I shall be. What matters 
the country or the city to me 1 " 

" Then come." 

" Is it too much to ask for five minutes, Charles 1 " 
" Where are you going ? " 

" I want to say farewell to many things. I want to 
bring away your dear letters. I want to take the ivory 
cross of my first communion, and some cherished souve- 
nirs of childhood, which will be in that strange land all 
that will remain to me of my mother, my family, and 
France. I will take them and come back again." 

"Amelie!" 

"What?" 

" I do not want to leave you ; it seems to me that if I 
leave you for a moment, just as we are about to be re- 
united, it will be to lose you forever. Amelie, may I come 
with you 1 " 

" Oli, come ! what matters it if they see your steps 
now 1 We shall be far from here by daylight. Come ! " 

The young man leaped from the boat, and gave his 
hand to Amelie; then he put his arm around her, and 
they both went towards the house. 



254 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Upon the doorstep Charles stopped. " Go," he said ; 
" the religion of your souvenirs shall be respected. Al- 
though I understand it, I should interfere with it. I will 
wait for you here. I will guard you from here. When I 
have only to extend my hand to take hold of you I am sure 
that you will not escape. Go, Amelie, but return quickly." 

Amelie replied by putting up her lips for the young 
man to kiss. Then she rapidly mounted the steps, went 
to her room, took a little box of carved oak bound with 
iron in which she kept her treasures, together with Charles's 
letters, from the first to the last ; unfastened from a mirror 
a white ivory cross which hung there, and put at her belt 
a watch which her father had given her. Then she went 
into her mother's room, knelt beside the bed, and kissed 
the pillow which Mme. de Montrevel's head had touched. 
Then she went and knelt before the Christ watching over 
the foot of her bed, and began a prayer which she dared 
not finish : she suddenly stopped. She thought that 
Charles had called her. She listened, and heard for the 
second time her name pronounced with an accent of an- 
guish for which she could not account to herself. She 
trembled, stood up, and rapidly descended the stairs. 
Charles was still in the same place, but leaning forward 
and listening intently. He seemed to be waiting with 
anxiety for some far-off voice. 

" What is it 1 " asked Amelie, seizing the young man's 
hand. 

" Listen ! listen ! " he said. 

Amelie listened in her turn. She seemed to hear suc- 
cessive reports like the firing of musketry. It came from 
the direction of Ceyzeriat. 

" Oh," cried Morgan, " I was right to doubt my hap- 
piness up to the last moment ! My friends are attacked, 
Amelie. Adieu! adieu!" 



MOKGAN'S PRESENTIMENTS REALIZED. 255 



"What do you mean? "cried Amelie, growing pale; 
" are you going to leave me 1 " 

The noise of the musketry became more distinct. 

" Do you not hear ? They are fighting, and I am not 
there to fight with them ! " 

Amelie, the daughter and the sister of a soldier, under- 
stood, and did not attempt to resist. " Go," she said, 
letting her arms fall, " you are right ; we are lost ! " 

The young man uttered a cry of agony, seized her for 
a second time, and strained her to his breast as if he would 
have stifled her ; then, clearing the steps at a bound, and 
darting in the direction of the firing with the rapidity of 
a doe pursued by the hunters, he cried : " Here I am, my 
friends ! here I am ! " And he disappeared like a shadow 
beneath the great trees of the park. 

Amelie fell on her knees, with her arms outstretched 
towards him, but without the strength to call him back ; 
or, if she did call, it was in a voice so feeble that Morgan 
did not reply, and did not slacken his pace to answer her. 



256 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTEE XXII. 
roland's revenge. 

It is easy to guess what had passed. Roland had lost 
no time with the captain of police and the colonel of 
dragoons. They on their side had not forgotten that they 
wanted to take their revenge. Roland had shown the 
captain of police the subterranean passage which led from 
the church of Brou to the cave of Ceyzeriat. At nine 
o'clock in the evening the captain and eighteen men who 
were under his command were to enter the church, go 
down through the burial vault of the dukes of Savoy, 
and close with their bayonets all communication between 
the quarry and the subterranean passage. Roland, at the 
head of twenty dragoons, was to surround the woods, and 
approach in a semi-circle, in such a way that the two wings 
of the semi-circle should come together at the cave of 
Ceyzeriat. He was to make the first movement on his 
side at nine o'clock, in order to coincide with that of the 
captain of police. 

We have seen by the words exchanged between Amelie 
and Morgan the condition of the companions of Jehu at 
this time. The news which had come at the same time 
from Mittau and from Brittany had set their minds at 
rest. Each one felt himself free ; and knowing that they 
had been carrying on a hopeless war, they were rejoiced 
at their liberty. There was, therefore, a kind of reunion 
in the cave of Ceyzeriat, — almost a ffete. At midnight 
they were to separate, and each one, according to the 



ROLAND'S REVENGE. 



257 



facilities be possessed for crossing the frontier, was to leave 
France. We have seen how their chief was occupying 
his last moments. But those who had not the same 
bonds to hold them were together in the brilliantly lighted 
open place in the cave, eating a farewell supper ; for once 
out of France, la Vendee and Brittany at peace, and 
Conde's army destroyed, where they would meet again in 
a strange land God alone knew. 

Suddenly they heard the report of a gun. As if by a 
shock of electricity, every one sprang up. A second shot 
was heard. Then, from the depths of the quarry, these 
two words came out, shudderingly, like the wings of a 
funeral bird : " To arms ! " For the companions of Jehu, ac- 
customed to the vicissitudes of a bandit's life, a moment's 
rest was never peace. Poniards, pistols, and muskets were 
always within reach of their hands. At the cry, uttered 
in all probability by the sentinel, each one leaped to his 
weapons and stood motionless, with his head bent for- 
ward, his chest heaving, and his ear on the alert. 

In the midst of the silence they heard a sound of steps 
as rapid as the obscurity through which they advanced 
would permit. Then, in the ray of light thrown by the 
torches and candles, a man appeared. " To arms ! 19 he 
cried a second time, " we are attacked ! " The two shots 
they had heard had been a double report from the senti- 
nel's hunting-rifle. He it was who was running, with his 
still smoking gun in his hand. 

"Where is Morgan 1 ?" cried twenty voices. 

"Absent," replied Montbar. " Consequently the com- 
mand falls upon me. Put out all the lights and retreat. A 
fight is useless now, and blood shed would be blood lost." 

They obeyed with a promptness which showed that 
each one appreciated the danger. Then they dashed on 
together in the darkness. Montbar, to whom the wind- 

VOL. II. — 17 



258 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



ings of the subterranean passage were as well known 
as to Morgan, took the direction of the company, and 
hastened, followed by his companions, into the depths of 
the quarry. Suddenly he thought he heard, fifty feet be- 
fore him, a command pronounced in a low voice, and then 
the clicking of a number of guns as they were being 
cocked. He extended both arms, murmuring in his turn 
the word, " Halt ! " 

At the same moment they distinctly heard the com- 
mand, " Fire ! " This command had no sooner been 
pronounced than the passage lighted up with a terrible 
report. Ten rifles had been discharged at once. 

By the glare of this light Montbar and his companions 
could see and recognize the uniform of the mounted 
police. "Fire!" cried Montbar, in his turn. Seven or 
eight shots rang forth at this command. The dark passage 
was lighted up once more. Two companions of Jehu were 
lying upon the ground, — one shot dead, the other mor- 
tally wounded. 

" The retreat is cut off," said Montbar. "About face, 
my friends ! If we have any chance at all, it is in the 
forest." 

The movement was made with the regularity of a 
military manoeuvre. Montbar placed himself at the head 
of his companions and retraced his steps. Just then the 
police fired a second time. No one returned the fire. 
Those who had discharged their weapons loaded them 
again ; those who had not yet fired held themselves in 
readiness for the real struggle which must take place at 
the entrance to the cave. One or two sighs alone indi- 
cated that this volley from the police had not been with- 
out result. 

At the end of five minutes Montbar stopped. They 
had nearly reached the open square. " Are all the guns 
and pistols loaded 1 " he asked. 



ROLAND'S REVENGE. 



259 



u All," replied a dozen voices. 

"You will remember the orders for those of us who 
fall into the hands of justice. "We belpng to the bands of 
M. de Teyssonnet. We came to recruit men for the 
Eoyalist cause. We do not understand what is meant 
when they talk to us about mail-coaches and diligences 
that have been stopped." 

" It is agreed." 

"And in case it is death, — as you well know it is, 
the death of a soldier instead of the death of bandits, — 
the rifle in place of the guillotine ! Forward, my friends ! " 
added Montbar, " and let us sell our lives as dearly as 
possible." 

" Forward ! 99 replied the Companions. And as rapidly 
as was possible in the shadows the whole troop began to 
march, still led by Montbar. 

As they advanced, Montbar breathed in an odor of 
smoke which made him uneasy. At the same time he 
saw a reflection of flickering lights upon the sides of the 
walls and the angles of the pillars, which indicated that 
something unusual was taking place at the entrance of 
the cave. 

"I believe those rascals are smoking us out," said 
Montbar. 

" I am afraid of it," replied Adler. 
" They think we are foxes." 

" Oh," replied some one, " they will soon see by our 
claws that we are lions." 

The smoke became thicker and thicker, and the light 
more and more brilliant. They came to the last turning. 
A heap of dry wood had been lighted in the midst of the 
quarry, about fifty paces from its opening, not for the sake 
of the smoke, but for the light. In the glare of the 
burning fire they saw at the entrance of the grotto the 



260 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



shining weapons of the dragoons. Ten paces in front of 
the others an officer was waiting, leaning upon his rifle, 
not only exposed to every shot but seeming to provoke 
them. 

It was Roland. It was easy to recognize him. He had 
thrown down his hat, his head was bared, and the flicker- 
ing of the flames played upon his face. But this which 
would ordinarily have been his death saved him. 

Montbar recognized him and took a step back. " Ro- 
land de Montrevel," he said. " Remember Morgan's 
safeguard." 

" Very well," replied the Companions, heavily. 
" And now," cried Montbar, " we will die, but we will 
kill." 

As he spoke, Montbar started first into the space lighted 
up by the flame of the fire, discharging one of the barrels 
of his gun at the dragoons, who replied by a general 
volley. It would be impossible to relate what took place 
then. The cave was filled with smoke, upon the bosom 
of which each discharge of musketry shone out like a 
lightning flash. The two troops came together and 
fought breast to breast. Pistols and daggers had their 
turn. At the noise of the struggle the police ran in ; but 
it was impossible for them to fire, since friends and ene- 
mies were all together. It seemed like a war of demons. 
Confused groups could be seen struggling in the midst of 
this red and smoking atmosphere, sinking down, rising 
again, and falling once more ; howls of rage and cries of 
agony could be heard. They were the last utterances of 
some dying man. The survivors sought new adversaries, 
and began a new struggle. 

This slaughter lasted from fifteen to twenty minutes. 
At the end of the twenty minutes there were twenty-two 
corpses lying in the cave of Ceyzeriat ; thirteen belonged 



roland's revenge. 



261 



to the dragoons and police, and nine to the companions of 
Jehu. Five of the latter survived ; overwhelmed by 
numbers and riddled with wounds, they had been taken 
alive. The police and dragoons, to the number of twenty- 
five, surrounded them. The captain of police had had 
his left arm broken, and the chief of brigade of dragoons 
had received a bullet in his thigh. Roland alone, covered 
with blood, but with blood which was not his own, had 
not received a scratch. Two of the prisoners were so 
grievously wounded that they could not walk. They had 
to be carried upon litters. 

Torches were lighted, and they took the road to the 
town. Just as they passed from the forest to the high- 
road they heard the galloping of a horse. It approached 
rapidly. 

" Go," said Roland ; " I will stay behind to see what 
this is." 

It was a horseman, who, as we have said, was riding at 
full speed. 

" Who goes there 1 " cried Roland, when the horseman 
was not more than twenty paces from him : and he took 
aim with his rifle. 

" One prisoner the more," replied the horseman. " I 
could not be present at the combat, but I wish at least 
to be found at the scaffold. Where are my friends 1 " 

" There, sir," replied Roland, who had recognized, not 
the face, but the voice of the young man, — a voice which 
he heard now for the third time ; and he pointed to the 
group in the centre of the little company which was on 
the road from Ceyzeriat to Bourg. 

" I am glad to see that nothing happened to you, Monsieur 
de Montrevel," said the young man, with perfect courtesy ; 
"it really gives me great joy, I assure you." Then 
putting spurs to his horse, in a few seconds he had 



262 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



reached the dragoons and the police. " Your pardon, 
gentlemen," he said, dismounting, "but I claim a place 
with my three friends, — the Viscomte de Jahiat, the 
Comte de Valensolle, and the Marquis de Ribier." 

The three prisoners uttered a cry of admiration, and 
held out their hands to their friend. The two wounded 
ones rose upon their litters, murmuring: "Well done, 
Sainte-Hermine ! well done ! " 

" I think, God forgive me ! " cried Roland, " that the 
credit of this affair will remain with these bandits, after 
alll" 



CADOUDAL AT THE TUILERIES. 263 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

CADOUDAL AT THE TUILEUIES. 

On the day, or rather the night, after the events which 
we have just related, two men were walking side by side 
in the grand salon of the Tuileries, looking out upon the 
garden. They were speaking eagerly ; the words of both 
were accompanied by rapid and animated gestures. These 
two men were Bonaparte and Georges Cadoudal. 

Georges Cadoudal, touched by the misfortunes which a 
longer resistance would entail upon Brittany, had just 
signed articles of peace with Brune. It was after this sig- 
nature that he had released the companions of Jehu from 
their oath. Unfortunately their release, as we have seen, 
had arrived twenty-four hours too late. In negotiating 
with Brune, Cadoudal had stipulated for nothing on his 
own account, except permission to depart immediately for 
England. But Brune had been so urgent, that the Ven- 
cl6ean chief had consented to an interview with the First 
Consul. He had therefore started for Paris. The very 
morning of his arrival he had presented himself at the 
Tuileries, given his name, and been admitted. In Bo- 
land's absence, Rapp had introduced him. 

When he left the room, the aide-de-camp left the two 
doors open, so that Bourrienne could see everything from 
his room, and come to the First Consul's help, if neces- 
sary. But Bonaparte, divining Rapp's intention, shut the 
door. Then returning quickly to Cadoudal, he said, — 



264 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



44 Ah, here you are at last ! I am very glad to see you. 
One of your enemies, Roland de Montrevel, has told me 
great things about you." 

" I am not surprised at that," replied Cadoudal ; " dur- 
ing the short time that I knew M. de Montrevel, I re- 
cognized in him the most chivalric sentiments." 

" Yes," replied the First Consul ; " and did this touch 
you 1 " Then, fixing upon the royalist chief his falcon 
eye, he continued : " Listen, Cadoudal. I need energetic 
men to accomplish the work I have undertaken. Will 
you come with me ? I have offered you the grade of 
colonel. You are worth more than that ; I offer you the 
rank of general of division." 

" I thank you from my heart, citizen Consul," replied 
Cadoudal; "but you would despise me if I should 
accept." 

"Why 1 ?" asked Bonaparte, quickly. 

" Because I have sworn to be faithful to the House of 
Bourbon; and I shall keep my oath, whatever happens." 

" Let us see," said the First Consul ; " is there no other 
means of attaching you to myself] " 

"General," replied the royalist officer, "is it permis- 
sible to repeat to you what has been said to me 1 " 

"Why not?" 

" Because it refers to the deepest arcanum of politics." 
"Oh, some stupidity," said the First Consul, smiling 
uneasily. 

Cadoudal stopped and looked fixedly at the other. 
" They say that an agreement was entered into at Alex- 
andria between you and Commodore Sidney Smith ; that 
the object of this agreement was to allow you to return to 
France, upon the condition, which you accepted, that you 
would restore the throne of our ancient kings." 

Bonaparte burst out laughing. " How remarkable you 



CADOUDAL AT THE TUILERIES. 



265 



are, you plebeians," he said, " with your love for your 
former kiugs ! Suppose I should restore this throne, — a 
thing which I have no intention of doing, — what reward 
would you get for having shed your blood for the re-estab- 
lishment of this throne 1 Not even the confirmation of the 
rank of colonel, which you have earned ! And did you ever 
see in a royalist army a colonel who was not a nobleman % 
Did you ever hear those people say that a man in their 
army had risen by his own merits 1 While with me, 
Cadoudal, you might aspire to anything ; for the higher I 
rise, the higher I raise those about me. As for seeing me 
play Monk's role, do not expect it. Monk lived in a cen- 
tury when the prejudices which we fought and overturned 
in 1789 were in full vigor. Even had Monk wished to 
become a king, he could not have done it ; neither could 
he have been a dictator. It took a Cromwell for that. 
Now, if I had wished to make myself king, nothing would 
have prevented me \ and if I ever do wish it, nothing 
shall hinder me. Well, you have something to say ; 
say it." 

" You say, citizen Consul, that the situation is not the 
same in France in 1800 that it was in England in 1660. 
I myself do not see much difference. Charles I. was be- 
headed in 1649, and Louis XVI. in 1793; eleven years 
elapsed in England between the death of the father and 
the restoration of the son ; seven years have already passed 
since the death of Louis XVI. Perhaps you will say 
that the English revolution was a religious one, while the 
French revolution was political ; very well, I reply that a 
charter is as easily made as an abjuration." 

Bonaparte smiled. "No," he replied, "I should not 
say that ; I should simply say that Cromwell was fifty 
years old when Charles I. was executed ; I was twenty- 
four at the time of the death of Louis XVI. Cromwell 



266 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



died in 1658, at the age of fifty-nine; during his ten 
years of power he had had time to undertake much, but to 
accomplish little ; and besides, he was attempting a com- 
plete reform, — a political reform, by the substitution of a 
republican for a monarchical government. Very well ; sup- 
pose I have as long a life as Cromwell had, fifty-nine 
years, and that is not much ; that would give me twenty 
years more to live, — just twice as much as Cromwell had. 
And you will remark that I change nothing ; I only con- 
tinue on a path that is already laid out ; I do not over- 
turn, — I lift up. Suppose that at the age of thirty years, 
Csesar, instead of being merely the first debauchee in 
Rome, had been its first citizen ; suppose his campaign 
against the Gauls had been made, his Egyptian campaign 
finished, and his Spanish campaign brought to a successful 
termination ; suppose that at that time he had been thirty 
years old instead of fifty, — would he not have become 
Caesar and Augustus in one 1 " 

" Yes, if he had not found Brutus, Cassius, and Casca 
in his path." 

" So," said Bonaparte, sadly, c< my enemies are counting 
upon my assassination ! In that case, it will be an easy 
matter for them, and for you first of all, who are my 
enemy ; for what is to prevent you now, if you share the 
opinions of Brutus, from striking me, as he struck Csesar ] 
I am alone with you; the doors are shut; you would 
have plenty of time to do it before any one could prevent 
you." 

Cadoudal took a step back. "No," he said, "we do 
not reckon on assassination ; and it would have to be a very 
grave extremity which would determine one of us to be- 
come an assassin. But there are the chances of war. A 
single reverse would make you lose prestige ; a defeat 
would bring the enemy into the heart of France ; from 



CADOUDAL AT THE TUILERIES. 267 



the frontiers of Provence can be seen the bivouac fires of 
the Austrians. A bullet may carry off your head, like 
that of the Marshal de Berwick ; and then what would 
become of France 1 ? You have no children, and your 
brothers — ' s 

"Oh, from that point of view, you are right; but if 
you do not believe in Providence, I do. I believe that 
nothing is done by chance; I believe that when on the 
15th of August, 1769, — a year to the very day from the 
time when Louis XV. sent forth the edict which reunited 
Corsica to France, — a child was born at Ajaccio who was 
to cause the 13th Vendemiaire and the 18th Brumaire, 
Providence had great things, supreme projects, in store 
for that child. That child was myself. If I have a mis- 
sion, I fear nothing ; for my mission will serve as my 
shield. If I have none, if I am mistaken, if, instead of 
living the twenty-five or thirty years which are neces- 
sary to finish my work, I am stabbed like Caesar or shot 
like Berwick, — it is because Providence has its reasons 
for acting thus, and upon it will fall the responsibility of 
finding some one for France. We spoke of Caesar just 
now. When Eome followed in the funeral train of 
the dictator, and burned the houses of his assassins ; 
when from the four cardinal points of the world the 
eternal city looked for the one who was to put an end 
to its civil wars ; when it trembled at sight of the 
drunken Antony or the hypocritical Lepidus, — it was far 
from thinking of the scholar of Apollonia, the nephew of 
Caesar, the young Octavius. Who thought of this son of 
the banker of Velletri, all whitened by the flour of his 
ancestors] Who guessed it, seeing him come limping and 
winking to pass in review the ancient armies of Caesar 1 ? 
Not even the all-seeing Cicero : ' Ornandum et tollendum/ 
he said. Well, the boy tricked all the graybeards of the 



268 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



senate, and reigned almost as long as Louis XIV. Cadou- 
dal, do not fight against the Providence which sustains 
me ; for Providence will be too strong for you." 

" I shall have been overcome while following in the 
way and the religion of my fathers," replied Cadoudal, 
bowing ; " and I hope God will pardon my error, which 
will be that of a fervent Christian and a pious son." 

Bonaparte put one hand on the young chief's shoulder. 
" So be it," he said ; "but at least remain neutral. Leave 
events to work themselves out ; watch thrones totter, and 
look at crowns as they fall. Usually it is the spectators 
who pay ; but this time I will pay you to look on." 

" And how much will you give me to do that % 19 asked 
Cadoudal, laughing. 

" A hundred thousand francs a year," replied Bonaparte. 

" If you would give a hundred thousand francs a year 
to a mere rebel chief," said Cadoudal, " how much would 
you offer the prince for whom he has fought ? " 

" Nothing, Monsieur ; what I pay for in you is your 
courage, and not the principle which has made you act. 
I prove to you that for me, a self-made man, a man exists 
only by reason of what he has done. Accept my offer, I 
beg of you." 

" And if I refuse % " 

" You will be making a mistake." 

" Should I be at liberty to draw back from the arrange- 
ment at any time that I saw fit ? " 

Bonaparte went to the door and opened it. " The 
aide-de-camp in service ! " he said. He expected to see 
Rapp; Roland appeared instead. "Ah," he said, "is it 
you 1 " Then turning towards Cadoudal, he added : " I do 
not need to present to you my aide-de-camp, Roland de 
Montrevel ; he is already known to you. Roland, tell the 
colonel that he is as free in Paris as you were in his camp 



CADOUDAL AT THE TUILEMES. 269 



at Muzillac; and that if he desires a passport for any- 
place, no matter where, Fouche has the order to give it 
to him." 

" Your word is enough, citizen Consul," said Cadoudal, 
bowing ; " I will start to-night." 

" And may I ask where you are going 1 " 

"To London." 

" So much the better." 

"Why so?" 

" Because there you will be brought into close contact 
with the men for whom you have fought." 
"Well?" 

" And then, when you have seen them — " 
" What then 1 " 

" You will compare them with those against whom you 
have fought. But once out of France, Colonel — " Bona- 
parte stopped. 

"I am listening," said Cadoudal. 

" Well, do not return without notifying me first. Other- 
wise you may be treated as an enemy." 

" That will be an honor for me, General ; since you 
prove, in treating me thus, that I am a man to be feared." 
And Cadoudal bowed to the First Consul and retired. 

"Well, General," asked Roland, when the door had 
closed behind Cadoudal, " is he not the kind of man I 
have said 1 " 

"Yes," replied Bonaparte, thoughtfully ; "but he sees 
the state of affairs incorrectly. The exaggeration of his 
principles, however, takes its rise in noble sentiments, 
which must give him a great influence among his own 
men." Then in a low voice he added: "Nevertheless, 
we must put an end to it." Then addressing Roland, he 
asked : " And you 1 99 

" I % " replied Roland. " I have finished with it." 



270 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Ah ! But the companions of Jehu — " 
" Have ceased to exist, General ; three quarters of theni 
are dead, and the rest are prisoners." 
" And you are safe and sound?" 

" Do not speak of it, General. I am beginning to be- 
lieve that, without suspecting it, I have made a compact 
with the Devil." 

That same evening, as he had told the First Consul, 
Cadoudal started for England. 

"When he heard that the Breton chief had safely arrived 
in London, Louis XVIII. wrote to him : — 

I have learned with the greatest satisfaction, General, that 
you have finally escaped from the hands of the tyrant who 
despised you sufficiently to try to induce you to enter his 
service. I have regretted the unhappy circumstances which 
have forced you to treat with him ; but I have never felt the 
least uneasiness ; the hearts of my faithful Bretons, and yours 
in particular, are too well known to me. To-day you are free, 
and near my brother; my hopes spring up again. I do not 
need to say more to a Frenchman like yourself. 

Louis. 

Accompanying this letter was the commission of a 
lieutenant-general, and the ribbon of Saint Louis. 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



271 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE RESERVE ARMY. 

The First Consul had reached the point at which he had 
been aiming : the companions of Jehu were destroyed, 
and la Vendee was once more at peace. While asking 
for peace from England, he had not really wished it ; for 
he understood very well that he could win greatness only 
by war. He seemed to have a presentiment that one day 
a poet would call him the " giant of battles." But how 
should he carry on this war 1 An article of the Constitu- 
tion of the year VIII. forbade the First Consul to com- 
mand armies in person, or to leave France. Constitutions 
always contain some one absurd article, if not more. 

The First Consul found a way to carry out his wishes. 
He established a camp at Dijon. The army which was to 
occupy this camp was to take the name of the reserve army. 
The nucleus of this army was formed from the men taken 
from la Vendee and Brittany, about thirty thousand in 
all ; twenty conscripts were also incorporated in it, and 
General Berthier was appointed commander-in-chief. 

The plan which Bonaparte had once explained to Bo- 
land in his cabinet at Luxembourg still remained in his 
mind. His idea was to reconquer Italy by means of a 
single battle. This battle was to be a great victory. 
Moreau, as a reward for his co-operation in the 18th Bru- 
maire, had obtained the military command which he de- 
sired, and was general-in-chief of the army of the Rhine, 
with eighty thousand men under him ; Augereau com- 



272 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



manded the Gallo-Batavian army, numbering twenty-five 
thousand ; and, finally, Massena was in command of 
the army in Italy, and was being besieged with great loss 
at Genes, blockaded by land by the Austrian general, Ott, 
and by sea by Admiral Keith. While this was taking 
place in Italy, Moreau had taken the offensive on the 
Rhine, and beaten the enemy at Stockach and Moeskirch. 
A single victory was to be the signal for the reserve army 
to begin operations, and two victories left no doubt as to 
their opportunitity. But how was this army to get to 
Italy? 

Bonaparte's first idea had been to go up the Yalais, and de- 
scend by way of the Simplon. They would thus go around 
Piedmont, and enter Milan ; but the operation would be 
a long one, and would have to be done openly. Bon- 
aparte gave it up; instead, he conceived the plan of 
surprising the Austrians, and of being on the plain of 
Piedmont with his whole army before they should suspect 
that he had passed the Alps. He decided to cross the 
great St. -Bernard. He therefore sent the fifty thousand 
francs to the fathers of the monastery which crowns this 
mountain, only to have them taken by the companions of 
Jehu. Fifty thousand others had been immediately sent 
off, which had fortunately reached their destination. 
Thanks to these fifty thousand francs, the monks would 
be abundantly provided with the refreshments necessary 
for an army of fifty thousand men during a day's halt. 

Consequently, towards the end of April, all the artillery 
was started towards Lauzanne, Villeneuve, Martigny, and 
St.-Pierre. General Marmont, who commanded the artil- 
lery, had been sent forward in advance, to watch the trans- 
port of the pieces. The transportation of the cannon was 
almost an impracticability ; however, it had to be done. 
There was no precedent to which to refer ; Hannibal with 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



273 



his elephants, his Numidians and his Gauls, and Charle- 
magne with his Francs had had nothing like this difficulty 
to surmount. Since the first campaign in Italy, in 1796, 
the armies, instead of crossing the Alps, had gone around 
them ; they had gone from Nice to Cherasco by the 
Corniche road. This time a truly gigantic task was to be 
undertaken. 

It was first necessary to make sure that the mountain 
was not occupied by the enemy ; the mountain without 
the Austrians was difficult enough in itself. Lannes was 
sent forward with a whole division ; he went through 
the pass of the St.-Bernard, without artillery or baggage, 
and took possession of Chatillon. The Austrians had left 
nothing in Piedmont except some cavalry at the depots 
and at a few outposts ; there were therefore no other ob- 
stacles than those of Nature to overcome. They began 
operations. They had made sledges to carry the cannon, 
but it was soon found that they were too wide to go on 
the path. They had to think of some other means. They 
hollowed out the trunks of pine-trees and put the 
cannon in them ; at the upper end they fastened a chain 
with which to draw them, and at the lower end a lever 
to use as a rudder. Twenty grenadiers took hold of the 
chain, and twenty others carried, together w r ith their own 
baggage, the baggage of those who were drawing the 
cannon. An artilleryman commanded each detachment, 
and was given absolute authority, if necessary, even over 
life and death. Metal, under these circumstances, was 
more precious than human flesh ! 

Before starting, each man received a pair of new shoes 
and twenty biscuits. They put on the shoes, and hung 
the biscuits around their necks. The First Consul, sta- 
tioned at the foot of the mountain, gave to each division the 
signal to start. One must have crossed the same paths as 

VOL II — 18 



274 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



a simple tourist, on foot or mule-back, and have looked 
down these same precipices, in order to have any idea of this 
undertaking ; always climbing up steep slopes, over narrow 
paths, on pebbles which cut first the shoes and then the 
feet ! From time to time they stopped to take breath, 
and then went on again uncomplainingly. They finally 
reached the glaciers. Before they went upon them the 
men received more shoes ; those that were new in the 
morning were in shreds ; then they ate a little biscuit and 
drank some brandy and water, and started on again. 
They had no idea how far they were going to ascend ; 
some of them asked how many more days it would take, 
and others wondered if they would be permitted to stop 
for a moment at the moon. At last they reached the 
eternal snows. There the work was easier; the pines 
slipped over the snow, and they went more quickly. 

A single example will show the measure of power given 
to the artillerymen in charge. General Chamberlhac 
was passing along; he thought that some of the men 
were not going quickly enough, and wishing to hasten 
their steps, he approached the artilleryman in charge and 
spoke to him in a tone of authority. 

"You do not command here," replied the man; "I do. 
I am responsible for the piece, and I direct it ; you will 
please mind your own business ! " 

The general stepped towards him as if to take him by 
the collar ; but the latter, taking a step backward, said : 
"General, do not touch me, or I will knock you down 
and throw you over the precipice." 

The general said no more. 

After unheard-of efforts they reached the foot of the 
slope at whose summit was the monastery. There they 
found traces of the passage of Lannes and his division. 
As the slope was very steep, his soldiers had constructed 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



275 



a sort of gigantic staircase. They went up the stairs. The 
monks of St.-Bernard were waiting at the top. They 
guided each division in succession to the monastery. 
Tables were spread in the long corridors, and upon them 
were bread, cheese, and wine. When the soldiers left the 
convent they shook hands with the monks and embraced 
the dogs. 

It seemed at first as if the descent would be easier 
than the ascent ; some of the officers, therefore, declared 
that they would take their turn in drawing the cannon. 
But this time the cannon drew the men, and some of them 
descended more rapidly than they liked. General Lannes, 
with his division, was still in advance. He descended 
first into the valley ; he reached Aoste, and was under 
orders to advance to Ivree, at the entrance to the plains 
of Piedmont. But there he met with an obstacle which 
had not been foreseen ; it was the fortress of Bard. 

The village of Bard is situated eight leagues from 
Aoste ; in descending the road to Ivree, a little way be- 
hind the village a low hill almost hermetically shuts in 
the valley ; the Doire flows between this hill and the 
mountain on the right. The river, or rather the torrent, 
fills all the intervening space. The mountain on the right 
presents much the same appearance, only, instead of the 
river, a road is there. On this side was the fortress of 
Bard ; it was built on the summit of the hill, and extended 
half way down its side. 

How had it happened that no one had thought of this 
obstacle, which was simply insurmountable 1 There was 
no means of taking it by assault from the bottom of the 
valley, and it was impossible to climb the rocks which 
commanded it. However, they succeeded in finding a 
path, which they levelled, and over which the cavalry and 
infantry could pass ; but they in vain tried to drag up 



276 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the artillery, even by dismounting it as they had done at 
St.-Bernard. Bonaparte had two pieces of artillery set 
up on the road, and opened fire against the fort ; hut they 
soon found that it was without effect ; besides, a shell 
from the fort struck and destroyed one of the cannon. 
The First Consul ordered an assault by scaling. The 
columns formed in the village, and, provided with ladders, 
hastened up the slope and presented themselves at several 
points. Celerity and silence were both necessary to suc- 
cess ; it was needful to surprise the garrison. But instead 
of that, Colonel Dufour, who commanded one of the 
columns, caused his drums to beat, and marched bravely 
to the assault. The column was repulsed, and the com- 
mander received a ball through his body. Then they 
chose the best sharpshooters, provided them with food 
and cartridges, and sent them to glide among the rocks to 
a place from which they could command the fort. From 
this place they discovered another, less elevated, which 
commanded the fort equally well ; with great difficulty 
they pulled two pieces of artillery up to it, and formed a 
battery. These two pieces on the one side, and the sharp- 
shooters on the other, began to give the enemy some 
uneasiness. 

In the mean time General Marmont proposed a plan to the 
First Consul, which was so bold that the enemy would be 
sure not to suspect it. It was, simply, to take the artillery 
along the road by night, in spite of the proximity of the 
fort. They spread manure on the road, and wool from all 
the mattresses that they could find in the village ; then they 
wrapped pieces of hay around the wheels, the chains, and 
all parts of the carriages which could make any noise. 
Finally, they unharnessed the horses, and replaced them 
by fifty men for each cannon, in single file. This offered 
considerable advantages over the other method : in the first 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



277 



place, the horses might neigh, while the men had every 
reason for preserving the strictest silence ; then again, a dead 
horse would delay the whole procession, while a dead man, 
not being harnessed to the carriage, could be pushed one 
side and replaced by another, without causing any delay at 
all. At the head of each gun-carriage were put an officer 
and a sub-officer of artillery, with the promise of six 
hundred francs for every carriage that they took beyond 
reach of the fort. General Marmont, who had proposed 
the plan, himself superintended its first operation. 

Fortunately, a storm had made the night still darker. 
The first six pieces of artillery, with their carriages, 
reached their destination without attracting a single shot 
from the fort. The men returned over the road on tiptoe, 
in single file ; but this time the enemy heard some sound, 
and wishing to know the cause, they threw some small 
bombs. Fortunately they fell on the other side of the 
road. Why did these men return, after having once 
passed in safety 1 To get their guns and baggage. They 
might have been spared this trouble and danger, if the 
things had been placed on the gun-carriages ; but men 
cannot think of everything, — a proof of which is found 
in the fact that the fort itself had not been thought of. 

When once it was proved that the passage of the artil- 
lery was a possibility, it became merely a duty, like any 
other ; but now that the enemy were warned, it was more 
dangerous. The fort seemed to be a volcano, vomiting 
forth flames and smoke ; but from the vertical direction 
in which the enemy were obliged to fire, there was 
more noise than mischief. They lost five or six men, 
perhaps, for each carriage, — about a tenth of each detach- 
ment of fifty ; but the artillery had passed, and the fate 
of the campaign hung upon that fact. They afterwards 
found that the pass of the little St. -Bernard was practi- 



278 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



cable, and that they might have brought all the artillery- 
over it without dismounting a single piece. It is true the 
passage would have been less brilliant, being less difficult. 

They finally found themselves upon the magnificent 
plains of Piedmont. On the Tessin they met twelve 
thousand men detached from the army of the Rhine by 
Moreau, who, after his two victories, could spare them to 
the army in Italy; they had come by way of the St. 
Gothard pass, and, reinforced by them, the First Consul 
entered Milan without striking a blow. 

By the way, how did the First Consul, in spite of the 
article to the contrary in the Constitution, succeed in leav- 
ing France and putting himself at the head of his army ? 
We will see. On the night before the day when he had 
planned to leave Paris, being the 5th of May, he had sum- 
moned to his house the two other consuls and the minis- 
ters, and had said to Lucien, " Prepare a circular to the 
prefects for to-morrow." Then to Fouche he had 'said : 
u You will cause this circular to be published in the jour- 
nals. It will state that I have gone to Dijon, where I am 
to inspect the reserve army. You will add, but not au- 
thoritatively, that I shall perhaps go as far as Geneva ; in 
any case, you will say that I will not be absent more than 
a fortnight. If anything important should occur, I shall 
return at once. I confide the great interests of France to 
you all ; I hope soon to be talked about, both in Vienna 
and London." And on the 6th he had started. 

Even then his intention had been to go down to the 
plains of Piedmont, and fight a great battle there ; and 
then, as he did not doubt that he should win, he could 
reply, as Scipio did to those who accused him of violat- 
ing the Constitution : " On such a day, such an hour, I 
conquered the Carthaginians ; let us go up to the Capitol 
and return thanks to the gods." He left Paris on the 6th 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



279 



of May, and on the 26th of the same month he encamped 
with his army between Turin and Casal. It had rained 
all day ; towards evening the storm had ceased, and, as 
often happens in Italy, the sky had passed in a few mo- 
ments from the darkest hues to the most beautiful azure, 
in which the stars shone brilliantly. 

The First Consul made a sign to Roland to follow him ; 
they left the little town of Chivasso and went along the 
border of the river. A hundred feet beyond the last 
houses a tree, which had been blown down by the tem- 
pest, afforded a seat for them. Bonaparte sat down upon it, 
and made a sign to Eoland to sit beside him. The gen- 
eral-in-chief evidently had something confidential to say 
to his aide-de-camp. They were both silent for a moment. 

Bonaparte was the first to speak. "Do you remember, 
Roland," he said, " a conversation which we had at the 
Luxembourg % " 

" General," replied Roland, laughing, " we have had a 
great many conversations at the Luxembourg, — one in 
particular, in which you told me that you were going to 
Italy in the spring, and that we should fight General 
Melas at Torre di Garofolo or San Giuliano. Are you still 
of the same mind 1 " 

" Yes ; but that is not the conversation of which I wish 
to speak." 

" Will you give me a hint, General? " 

" It was about marriage." 

u Ah, yes, my sister's marriage. That must be accom- 
plished by this time, General." 

" Not your sister's marriage, Roland, but your own." 

" Ah," said Roland, smiling bitterly, " I thought that 
question was settled between us, General ; " and he made 
a movement as if to rise. 

Bonaparte held him by the arm. " When I spoke to 



280 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



you of it, Roland," he said in a serious tone, which 
showed that he desired Roland's attention, " do you know 
whom I had in my mind for you ? " 

" No, General." 

" It was my sister Caroline." 

" Your sister ! " 

" Yes ; does that surprise you 1 " 

11 1 could never have believed that you would dream of 
doing me such an honor." 

" You are ungrateful, Roland, or else you do not say 
what you think. You know that I love you." 

" Oh, General ! " cried Roland ; and he took the Con- 
sul's hands in his, and pressed them gratefully. 

" Well, I should like to have you for a brother-in-law." 

" Your sister and Murat love each other, General," said 
Roland. " It will therefore be much better that your 
plan should not be realized. Besides," he added in a low 
voice, " I thought I had already told you, General, that 
I should never marry." 

Bonaparte smiled. "Perhaps you will tell me next 
that you are going to turn monk," he said. 

" Upon my word, General," returned Roland, " if you 
will re-establish the convents and take away my chances 
for getting killed, — which, thank God ! will be plentiful 
enough before long, — I should like to do it ; and perhaps 
you have guessed the manner in which I shall end my 
days." 

" Is it some heart sorrow, some woman's infidelity 1 " 
" Ah," said Roland, " so you think me lovesick ! That 

was all I needed in order to have a high place in your 

opinion." 

" Do you complain of the place which you occupy in it, 
— you, to whom I wanted to give my sister 1 " 

" But unfortunately the thing is impossible ! Your 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



281 



three sisters are married, General, — the youngest to Gen- 
eral Leclerc, the second to Prince Bacciocchi, and the eld- 
est to Murat." 

" And so," said Bonaparte, laughing, " your mind is 
quite at ease, since you think there is no danger of an 
alliance with me?" 

"Oh, General ! " began Roland. 

u Then you are not ambitious 1 " 

" General, permit me to love you for the favors which 
you have already shown me, and not for those which you 
would bestow upon me." 

" And suppose I had selfish reasons for desiring to bind 
you to me, not only with the bonds of friendship, but 
still more so with those of relationship 1 Suppose I said 
to you that in my plans for the future I count but little 
on my brothers, while I never could doubt you for an 
instant ? " 

" As far as my heart is concerned, you are right." 

" As far as everything is concerned ! What could I do 
with Leclerc, a commonplace man ; or with Bacciocchi, 
who is not even a Frenchman; or with Murat, who has 
the heart of a lion, but the head of a fool 1 Some day, 
however, I shall have to make them princes, since they 
will be my sisters' husbands. In the mean time what 
shall I do for you 1 ?" 

"You can make me a marshal of France." 

" And afterwards ? " 

" What do you mean by afterwards 1 I think that is 
quite enough." 

" And then you will be one of twelve, instead of being 
a unit ! " 

" Let me remain simply your friend ; let me always tell 
you the truth, and I assure you that you will have done 
me good service." 



282 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



u Perhaps that is enough for you, Roland, but it is not 
enough for me," insisted Bonaparte. Then, as Roland 
was silent, he added : " It is true that I have no more 
sisters; but I have dreamed of something better still for 
you than to be my brother." Roland was still silent. 
" There exists somewhere in the world, Roland, a charming 
girl whom I love like my own daughter. She is seven- 
teen years old, and you are twenty-six. You are already 
a general of brigade, and before the end of the campaign 
you will be a general of division. Well, Roland, at the 
end of the campaign we will return to Paris, and yon will 
marry — " 

" General," interrupted Roland, " I think Bournenne is 
coming to look for you." And, in fact, the First Consul's 
secretary was close to them. 

" Is that you, Bourrienne % " asked Bonaparte, im- 
patiently. 

" Yes, General. A messenger from France." 
"Ah!" 

" And a letter from Mme. Bonaparte." 
" Good ! " said the First Consul, quickly ; " give it to 
me." And he almost snatched away the letter. 
" And nothing for me ? " asked Roland. 
"Nothing." 

" That is strange," said the young man, thoughtfully. 

The moon had risen, and by its brilliant light Bonaparte 
read his letter. For the first two pages his face was per- 
fectly serene. Bonaparte adored his wife ; the letters 
published by Queen Hortense bear witness to that. But 
towards the end of the letter his face darkened, he frowned 
heavily, and glanced askance at Roland. 

" Ah," said the young man, " that letter seems to con- 
cern me ! " 

Bonaparte did not reply, but continued his reading. 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



283 



When he had finished, he folded the letter and put it in 
his coat pocket ; then, turning to Bourrienne, he said : 
" Very well, we will come back ; I shall probably send off 
a messenger. While you are waiting for me, cut me some 
pens." 

Bourrienne saluted and went back. 

Bonaparte then approached Roland, and putting his 
hand on his shoulder, said : " I am not fortunate in the 
marriages I desire." 

"Why?" asked Roland. 

" Your sister's marriage has fallen through." 

" Has she refused V 

" No, not she." 

" What ! It cannot be Lord Tanlay % " 
« Yes." 

" He has refused to marry my sister after having asked 
me, my mother, you, and herself for her ! " 

" Come, don't get excited ; try to understand that there 
is some mystery about it." 

" I do not see any mystery ; I only see an insult." 

" Ah, there you go ! I see now why neither your 
mother nor your sister cared to write to you ; but Jose- 
phine thought you ought to be informed of it. She there- 
fore told me the news, asking me to tell it to you if I 
thought best. As you see, I did not hesitate." 

"I thank you sincerely, General. Did Lord Tanlay 
give any reason for his refusal ? " 

li A reason which cannot be a true one." 

"What is itV 

" It cannot be the real one." 

"But what is it?" 

" One only has to see the man and talk with him for 
five minutes, to know that." 

"But, General, what reason did he give for breaking 
his word ? " 



284 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" That your sister is not as rich as he had thought." 

Roland laughed, in the nervous way which betokened 
with him great agitation. " Ah," he said, "that was the 
very first thing I told him." 

"What was?" 

" That my sister did not have a sou. Are we rich, — ■ 
we, the children of a republican general ? " 

" And what did he reply?" 

"That he was rich enough for two." 

" You see, then, that that cannot be the true motive for 
his refusal." 

" And you think that one of your aides-de-camp may 
receive an insult in the person of his sister without resent- 
ing it?" 

" In these matters, my dear Roland, it is for the person 
who has received the offence to weigh the reasons for and 
against." 

" General, how long do you think it will be before we 
have a decisive battle ? " 

Bonaparte calculated. " Not for two or three weeks," 
he replied. 

" General, I ask leave for a fortnight." 

" On one condition." 

« What is it ? " 

" It is that you will go to Bourg and question your 
sister, to find out from her who was to blame for the 
refusal." 

" That was my intention." 

" In that case you have not a moment to lose." 

" You will see that I shall not lose a moment ; " and 
the young man took a few steps towards the village. 

" Wait a moment ; you will take charge of my de- 
spatches for Paris, will you not ? " 

" I understand ; I am the courier of whom you spoke 
just now to Bourrienne ? " 



THE RESERVE ARMY. 



285 



"Precisely." 
" Then, come." 

" Wait a moment more ; those young men whom you 
arrested — " 

" The companions of Jehu 1 " 

" Yes. Well, it seems they all belong to noble families ; 
they are fanatics rather than criminals. It seems that 
your mother, falling into some trap or other which the 
judge laid for her, testified at their trial, and was the 
cause of their condemnation." 

" Possibly. My mother, as you know, was stopped by 
them, and saw the face of their chief." 

"Well; your mother begs me, through Josephine, to 
have mercy upon the poor fanatics, — that is the term 
which Josephine uses. They have appealed. You will 
arrive before the appeal can be rejected, and if you think 
best you may tell the judge from me to grant them a re- 
prieve. When you return, we will see what can be defi- 
nitely arranged." 

" Thanks, General. Have you nothing else to say to 
me?" 

"No, unless it is to tell you to reflect upon the conver- 
sation which we have just had." 
"On what subject?" 
" On the subject of marriage." 



286 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

THE TRIAL. 

"Well, I will say to you as you said to me just 
now, — we will speak of this upon my return, if I do 
return." 

"Oh," said Bonaparte, "you will kill him as you have 
killed the others ; but I confess that if you do kill him I 
shall be sorry for it." 

" If you regret it as much as that, General, it would be 
very easy to kill me in his place." 

" Don't be stupid ! " said the First Consul ; " I should 
regret you still more." 

" In truth, General," said Roland, with his bitter laugh, 
"you are the most difficult man to please that I ever 
knew." And then he took the road to Chivasso, and the 
general no longer sought to retain him. 

Half an hour afterwards Roland was upon the Ivree 
road in a postchaise. He was to travel thus as far as 
Aoste, where he was to take a mule, cross the St.-Bernard, 
go down the Martigny, and by way of Geneva reach Bourg 
and then Paris. 

While Roland is hastening along, let us see what has 
taken place in France, and thus throw light upon those 
points which may have seemed a little obscure to our 
readers in the conversation which we have just repeated 
between Bonaparte and his aide-de-camp. 



THE TRIAL. 



287 



The prisoners that Eoland had taken in the cave at 
Ceyzeriat had passed only one night in the prison of Bourg, 
and had then been immediately transferred to that of 
Besancon, where they were to appear before a court-' 
martial. It will be remembered that two of these pris- 
oners had been so badly wounded that they had to be 
carried upon litters. One of them died that same night ; 
and the other, three days after reaching Besangon. The 
number of prisoners was therefore reduced to four, — 
Morgan, who had returned voluntarily, and was safe and 
sound ; and Montbar, Adler, and D'Assas, who had been 
more or less wounded in the fight, but not danger- 
ously. Their four pseudonyms concealed, as will be re- 
membered, the names of the Baron of Sainte-Hermine, 
the Comte de Jayat, the Vicomte de Valensolle, and the 
Marquis de Ribier. 

While the military commission at Besancon was going 
through with the trial of the four prisoners, the law ex- 
pired which submitted to military tribunals the offence of 
stopping diligences on the high roads. The prisoners 
were therefore under the jurisdiction of civil tribunals. 
This made a great difference to them, — not as regarded 
the sentence, but as regarded the method of execution. 
Condemned by a military tribunal, they were shot ; con- 
demned by civil jurisdiction, they were guillotined. It 
was not shameful to be shot, but it was to be guillotined. 

When it was found that they were to be judged by a 
jury, their case came before the jury of Bourg. Towards 
the end of March the accused had therefore been trans- 
ferred from the prison of Besancon to that of Bourg, and 
the trial had begun. But the four accused men had 
adopted a system which could not fail to embarrass the 
judge. They declared that they were called the Baron of 
Sainte-Hermine, the Comte de Jayat, the Vicomte de Val- 



288 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



ensolle, and the Marquis de Ribier, but that they had no 
connection whatever with those robbers of diligences who 
had been called Morgan, Montbar, Adler, and D'Assas. 
They confessed to having been a part of the main army ; 
but they claimed to belong to the bands of M. de Tey- 
sonnet, ■ — a branch of the army of Brittany destined to 
operate in the south or east, while the army of Brittany 
which had just signed the peace had been destined to 
operate in the west. They were only waiting for sub- 
mission from Cadoudal to make their own ; and that of 
their chief had doubtless been on the way to them when 
they had been attacked and taken. 

Proof to the contrary was difficult to find. The dil- 
igences had always been attacked by masked men, and 
aside from Mme. de Montrevel and Sir John no one had 
ever seen the face of one of our adventurers. It will 
be recalled under what circumstances this had occurred. 
Sir John had seen their faces upon the night when he 
had been judged, condemned, and apparently executed 
by them ; Mme. de Montrevel, at the time of the 
stopping of the diligence, when, struggling against an at- 
tack of hysterics, she had accidentally knocked off Mor- 
gan's mask. Both had been called before the judge; both 
had been confronted with the four accused men, and both 
had declared that they recognized none of them. 

But whence came this reserve? On Mme. de Mon- 
trevel's part it was easily guessed. She felt a double 
gratitude towards the man who had protected her son 
Edward and had brought help to herself. On Sir John's 
part the silence was more difficult to explain, for among 
the four prisoners he certainly recognized at least two of 
his assassins. They had recognized him, and a shudder 
had passed over them at sight of him ; but they had not 
the less resolutely fixed their eyes upon him, when, to 



THE TEIAL. 



289 



their great astonishment, Sir John, in spite of the per- 
sistence of the judge, had obstinately replied : "I have 
not the honor of recognizing these gentlemen." 

Amelie, of whom I have not hitherto spoken, — for 
there are sorrows which the pen cannot even attempt to 
describe, — Amelie, pale, feverish, almost perishing since 
that fatal night when Morgan had been arrested, waited 
with anxiety the return of her mother and Lord Tanlay 
from their interview with the judge. Lord Tanlay came 
in first. Mme. de Montrevel stayed behind for a moment 
to give some orders to Michel. 

As soon as she saw Sir John, Amelie sprang towards 
him, exclaiming : " Well % " 

Sir John looked around him to assure himself that 
Mme. de Montrevel could neither see nor hear him. 
"Neither your mother nor I have recognized any one," he 
replied. 

" Ah, how noble, how generous, how good you are, 
my lord ! " cried the young girl, attempting to kiss his 
hand. 

But he drew it back. " I have only kept my promise," 
he said ; " but, hush ! here is your mother ! " 

Amelie stepped back. " And so, Madame," she said, 
" you have not helped to condemn these unfortunate ones ] " 

"What!" replied Mme. de Montrevel, "would you 
have me send to the scaffold a man who brought help to 
me, and who, instead of punishing Edward, kissed him 1 ?" 

"And yet," asked Amelie, trembling, " you recognized 
him, did you not 1 " 

"Perfectly," replied Mme. de Montrevel. "It was 
the blonde man with black eyebrows and eyes, who was 
named Charles de Sainte-Hermine." 

Amelie uttered a stifled cry ; then making an effort to 
control herself she asked : " Then all is at an end, as far 

VOL. II. — 19 



290 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



as you and my lord are concerned, and you will not be 
called back again 1 " 

"Probably not," replied Mme. de Montrevel. 

"In any case," replied Sir John, " I suppose that like 
myself, who really did not recognize any one, Mme. de 
Montrevel would persist in her deposition." 

"Oh, certainly," said Mme. de Montrevel. "God 
forbid that I should cause the death of this unhappy 
young man ! I should never forgive myself. It is 
quite enough that his companions were arrested by 
Eoland." 

Amelie uttered a sigh, and then her face became calmer. 
She threw a look of gratitude at Sir John, and went up 
to her room, where Charlotte was waiting for her. Char- 
lotte had become more a friend than a maid. Every day 
since the accused had been brought to the prison at Bourg, 
Charlotte had been to pass an hour with her father. Dur- 
ing that time they talked of nothing but the prisoners, 
whom the worthy turnkey, in his character of royalist, 
pitied with all his heart. Charlotte listened to every 
word she could glean about them, and each day she 
brought to Amelie news of the accused. 

In the mean time Mme. de Montrevel and Sir John 
had arrived at Noires-Fontaines. Before leaving Paris, 
the First Consul had told both Eoland and Josephine to 
inform Mme. de Montrevel that he desired that the mar- 
riage should take place in his absence, and as promptly 
as possible. Sir John, when he went with Mme. de Mon- 
trevel to Noires-Fontaines, had declared that his most 
ardent desires would be accomplished by this union, and 
that he only waited for a word from Amelie to become 
the happiest of men. 

Things having come to this point, Mme. de Montre- 
vel, on the very morning of the day when Sir John and 



THE TRIAL. 



291 



she were to appear as witnesses, had authorized a tete-ct-tete 
between Sir John and her daughter. The interview had 
lasted more than an hour, and Sir John had left Amelie 
only to accompany Mnie. de Montrevel before the judge. 
We have seen that their evidence tended to liberate the 
prisoners, and we have also seen how, on his return, Sir 
John had been received by Amelie. 

In the evening Mme. de Montrevel also had an inter- 
view with her daughter. To her mother's searching 
questions Amelie had contented herself with replying 
that her ill health made her desire to postpone her mar- 
riage, but that she would leave the matter to the delicacy 
of Lord Tanlay. 

On the next day Mme. de Montrevel had been obliged 
to leave Bourg to return to Paris, her position near Mme. 
Bonaparte not permitting a longer absence. On the morn- 
ing of her departure she had insisted that Amelie should 
accompany her to Paris ; but Amelie upon this point 
pleaded the feebleness of her health ; they were about to 
enter upon the sweet, life-giving months of the year, the 
months of April and May. She asked that she might 
pass these two months in the country, certain, she said, 
that they would do her good. Mme. de Montrevel could 
refuse nothing to Amelie, above all when it was a question 
of her health. A further delay was granted to the invalid. 

As Mme. de Montrevel had come to Bourg with Lord 
Tanlay, so she returned to Paris with him. But much to 
her astonishment, during the two days of the journey Sir 
John did not say one word of his marriage with Amelie. 
But when Mme. Bonaparte saw her friend she asked her 
usual question : — 

" Well, when will Amelie be married to Sir John 1 You 
know that this marriage is one of the wishes of the First 
Consul." 



292 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



To which Mme. de Montrevel replied, " The thing de- 
pends entirely upon Lord Tanlay." 

This reply made Mme. Bonaparte very thoughtful. 
How, after having appeared so eager at first, had Lord 
Tanlay become so cold 1 Time alone could explain such 
a mystery. 

Time slipped away, and the trial of the prisoners con- 
tinued. They had been confronted with all the travellers 
who had signed the different reports that had been sent to 
the minister of police, but none of the travellers had been 
able to recognize them, as none of them had been seen 
with uncovered faces. The travellers had, besides, borne 
witness that nothing belonging to them, either of money 
or of jewels, had been taken. Jean Picot had testified 
that the two hundred louis which had been taken from 
him by mistake had been returned. 

The trial had lasted two months, and at the end of these 
two months the accused, whom no one could identify, 
rested upon the weight of their own confessions. That is 
to say, they belonged to the Breton and Vendeean revolt ; 
they were simply a part of the armed bands which had 
been scattered about the Jura Mountains, under the orders 
of M. de Teysonnet. 

The judges had delayed the debates as long as possible, 
hoping that some witness of importance would be pro- 
duced. But their hope had been in vain. No one had 
in fact suffered from the deeds imputed to these young 
men, with the exception of the treasury, whose misfor- 
tunes interested no one. 

It was time to open the debates. On their side the 
accused had used their time to some profit. We have 
seen that by means of a clever exchange of passports 
Morgan travelled under the name of Ribier, and Eibier 
under that of Sainte-Hermine. From this there had re- 



THE TRIAL. 



293 



suited a confusion in the testimony of the inn-keepers, 
which their books had still further increased. The arrival 
of travellers who registered an hour too soon or an 
hour too late afforded unmistakable alibis. The judges 
were morally convinced of their guilt, but it was impos- 
sible to prove it. Then, it must be confessed, the accused 
had the entire sympathy of the public. 

The debates opened. The prison of Bourg adjoins the 
judgment hall, to which, by means of inside passages, the 
prisoners could be conducted. Large as was this hall, it 
was crowded upon the day of the opening of the debates. 
The whole city of Bourg thronged to the doors of the 
tribunal, and people came even from Macon, from Lons- 
le-Saulnier, from Besangon, and from Nantua, so renowned 
had become the stopping of the diligences and so popular 
the exploits of the companions of Jehu. 

The entrance of the four accused men was greeted in a 
murmur which was not unfriendly. It was almost an 
equal mixture of curiosity and sympathy. And their ap- 
pearance was well calculated to awaken these two senti- 
ments. Handsome, dressed in the latest fashion, self- 
conficlent without being impudent, smiling to the audience, 
courteous to their judges, although slightly mocking, their 
best defence was their own appearance. The oldest of 
the four had scarcely reached his thirtieth year. Ques- 
tioned as to their names, ages, and place of birth, they 
replied : — 

" Charles de Sainte-Hermine, born at Tours, in the de- 
partment of Indre-et-Loire, aged twenty-four years." 

" Louis Andr6 do Jahiat, born at Bage-le-Chateau, de- 
partment of l'Ain, aged twenty-nine years/' 

"Raoul Frederic Auguste de Valensolle, born at St. 
Colombe, department of the Rhone, aged twenty-seven 
years." 



294 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Pierre Hector de Ribier, born at Bollene, department 
of Vaucluse, aged twenty-six years." 

Questioned as to their condition and rank, they all four 
declared themselves noblemen and royalists. 

These four handsome young men, who were defending 
themselves against the guillotine but not against being 
shot, — who asked for death and declared that they had 
merited it, but who desired a soldier's death, — formed an 
admirable group of youth, courage, and generosity; and 
the judges understood that under the simple accusation of 
armed rebellion, la Vendee being in submission and Brit- 
tany pacified, they would be acquitted. But this was not 
what the minister of police wanted. Even the death pro- 
nounced by court martial would not satisfy him. He 
wanted a dishonored death, the death of malefactors, the 
death of rogues. 

The debates had lasted for three days, and had not ad- 
vanced a step. Charlotte, who by way of the prison 
could reach the judgment hall, went every day to the de- 
bates, and every evening came back to bring to Amelie a 
word of hope. On the fourth day Amelie could endure 
it no longer. She had had a costume made exactly simi- 
lar to that of Charlotte, except that the black lace which 
covered her hat was longer and thicker than usual. It 
formed a veil, and prevented any one from seeing her 
face. 

Charlotte presented Amelie to her father as one of her 
young friends who was curious to be present at the de- 
bates. The good man did not recognize Mdlle. de Mon- 
trevel ; and in order that she might see the accused 
plainly, he placed the two girls in the corridor along which 
they were to pass, and which led from his room to the 
judgment hall. The corridor was narrow at a certain 
point, and of the four policemen who accompanied the 



THE TRIAL. 



295 



prisoners two went in front, followed by the prisoners 
one by one, and then by the other two policemen. It 
was at this point that Charlotte and Amelie stationed 
themselves. 

When they heard the door open, Amelie was obliged 
to lean upon Charlotte's shoulder. It seemed to her that 
the earth sank beneath her feet and the wall receded from 
behind her. She heard the noise of the footsteps and the 
clanking of the policemen's sabres. Finally the door of 
communication opened. A policeman passed along, then a 
second. Sainte-Hermine walked first, as if he were still 
called Morgan. As he passed along Amelie murmured, 
" Charles ! " The prisoner recognized the beloved voice, 
uttered a faint cry of delight, and felt that a note was be- 
ing slipped into his hand. He pressed her dear hand, mur- 
mured the name of Amelie, and passed on. The others 
came next, and they either did not or seemed not to 
notice the two young girls. As for the police, they had 
seen and heard nothing. 

As soon as he reached a light place Morgan unfolded 
the note. It contained these words : — 

" Be content, my dear Charles ; I am and will be your faith- 
ful Amelie in life as in death I have confessed all to Lord 
Tanlay, and he is the most generous man in the world. I 
have his word that he will break off the marriage, and take 
upon himself the responsibility of this rupture. I love 
you!" 

Morgan kissed the note, and put it upon his beart ; 
then he glanced towards the passage. The two young 
girls were leaning against the door. Amelie had risked 
everything to see him again. 

It is true that they hoped this day would be the last, 
unless some new witness could be found, for it was impos- 



296 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



sible to condemn the accused men without proofs. The 
first lawyers in the department, those of Lyons and 
Besancpn, had been called in by the accused to defend 
them. They had spoken, each in his turn, destroying- 
piece by piece the accusation against the prisoners, as in 
the tournaments of the Middle Ages a strong and adroit 
champion would strike away piece by piece the armor of 
his adversary. Applause had, in spite of the warnings of 
the officers and the admonitions of the judge, welcomed 
the most remarkable parts of these speeches. Amelie with 
clasped hands thanked God, who was manifesting Himself 
so decidedly in favor of the accused. A frightful weight 
was lifted from her. She breathed freely, and looked 
through tears of gratitude at the Christ placed at the head 
of the judge. 

The debates were about to be closed. Suddenly an 
officer entered, approached the judge, and said a few words 
in his ear. 

" Gentlemen," said the president, "the trial is ad- 
journed. Let the accused go out." 

There was a moment of feverish uneasiness in the 
audience. What had happened 1 What unexpected thing 
was about to take place ] Every one looked anxiously at 
his neighbor. A presentiment contracted Amelie's heart. 
She carried her hand to her chest. She felt something 
like an icy dagger penetrating to the very source of her 
life. 

The police rose ; the accused followed them, and passed 
towards their cell. They went one after another in front of 
Amelie. The hands of the two young lovers touched 
each other, and Amelie's was as cold as death. " What- 
ever happens, thanks ! " said Charles, as he passed. 
Amelie tried to reply, but the words died upon her 
lips. 



THE TRIAL. 



297 



In the mean time the president rose and went into the 
council chamber. He found a veiled lady there who had 
just descended from a carriage at the very door of the 
tribunal, and who had been led to this room without hav- 
ing exchanged a word with any one. 

" Madame," he said, " I beg of you to accept my ex- 
cuses for the almost brutal fashion in which, acting upon 
my discretionary power, I have called you from Paris and 
brought you here. But it is a question of the life of a 
man, and before that consideration all others should seem 
insignificant." 

" You do not need to excuse yourself, sir," replied the 
veiled lady. "I understand the privileges of justice, and 
I am here at your service." 

" Madame," continued the president, " I appreciate the 
sentiment of exquisite delicacy which urged you, when 
you were confronted with the accused, not to recognize 
any one who had brought help to you. At that time 
they denied their identity with the men who had robbed 
the diligences ; since then they have confessed everything. 
But we want to know which of them offered you such 
courtesy, in order that we may recommend him to the 
clemency of the First Consul." 

" What ! " cried the veiled lady, u they have confessed 1 " 

" Yes, Madame ; but they are obstinately silent as to 
which one of them came to your assistance, doubtless fear- 
ing to contradict your testimony, and not willing to buy 
mercy at such a price." 

" And what do you ask of me, sir % " 

" That you save your savior." 

" Oh, willingly ! " said the lady, rising. " What shall 
Idol" 

" Simply reply to the question which will be addressed 
to you by me." 



298 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" I am ready, sir." 

" Wait a moment here. You will be summoned in a 
few moments." 

The judge went back. The policemen placed before 
each door prevented any one from communicating with 
the veiled lady. The judge took his place. "Gentle- 
men," he said, "the trial will continue." 

A loud murmur rose. The officers called for silence. 
Silence was re-established. 

" Bring in the witness," said the president. 

An officer opened the door, and the veiled lady entered. 
All looks were cast upon her. Who was this veiled lady 1 
What had she come to do 1 To what end had she been 
called ? Before any one else Amelie had fixed her eyes 
upon her. " Oh, my God ! " she murmured, " I hope I 
am mistaken ! " 

" Madame, " said the president, " the accused are about 
to enter this hall ; be good enough to identify to the judge 
the one who, upon the occasion of the stopping of the 
Geneva diligence, cared for you so chivalrously." 

A shudder ran through the assembly. They understood 
that some sinister net had been spread beneath the feet of 
the accused. A dozen voices were about to cry, " Do not 
speak ! " when at a sign from the president an officer, in 
an imperative voice, cried, " Silence ! " A deathlike cold 
enveloped Amelie's heart ; an icy perspiration stood upon 
her forehead, and her knees seemed to give way under 
her. 

"Let the accused enter," said the president, command- 
ing silence with a look, as the officer had called for it with 
his voice. "And you, Madame, come forward and lift 
your veil." 

The veiled lady obeyed. " Mother ! Mother ! " cried 
Amelie. But it was in a voice so low that she was only 



THE TRIAL. 



299 



heard by those immediately around her. "Madame de 
Montrevel ! " murmured the audience. 

Just then the first policeman appeared at the door, and 
then the second. After him came the accused, but in a 
different order. Morgan had the third place, so that, 
separated from the policemen by Montbar and Adler, who 
walked before him, and by D'Assas, who walked behind 
him, he could the more easily grasp Amelie's hand. 
Montbar entered first. Mme. de Montrevel shook her 
head. Then came Adler. Mme. de Montrevel made 
the same negative sign. Just then Morgan passed before 
Amelie. " Oh, we are lost ! " said she. He looked at her 
with astonishment, and convulsively her hand grasped his 
own. He entered. 

"That is he, gentlemen," said Mme. de Montrevel, 
seeing Morgan, or rather Charles de Sainte-Hermine. 

There rang through the audience a long wail of grief. 

Montbar burst out laughing. " Upon my word," he 
said, " this will teach you, my dear friend, to play the 
gallant to ladies who fall ill." Then turning towards 
Mme. de Montrevel, he said : " Madame, with those 
words you have struck off four heads." 

There was a terrible silence, <n the midst of which a 
single groan was heard. 

" Officer," said the president, " did you not tell the 
audience that every mark of approbation or disapproba- 
tion was forbidden 1 " 

The officer made a search for the person who had uttered 
the groan. It was a woman, whom they had just carried 
into the room of the prison turnkey. 

From that time the accused attempted to deny nothing ; 
as Morgan had clung to them, so they would cling to 
him. Their four heads would be saved or would fall 
together. 



300 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



The same day, at ten o'clock in the evening, the jury 
declared the accused guilty, and the court pronounced the 
penalty of death. Three days afterwards the lawyers suc- 
ceeded in obtaining permission to carry their case to the 
court of appeals. 



HOW AMISLIE KEPT HER WORD. 301 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 

The verdict returned by the jury of the city of Bourg 
had produced a terrible effect^ not only in the judgment 
hall, but in the whole city. There was such chivalrous 
brotherhood among the four accused, such elegance of 
manner, and such a belief in the faith which they pro- 
fessed, that their very enemies could but admire this 
strange devotion which had converted noblemen of birth 
and name into highway robbers. 

Mme. de Montrevel, in despair at the part which she 
had just taken in the trial, and at the role which she had 
involuntarily played in the deadly drama, had seen only 
one means of repairing the mischief that she had done. 
That was to set out upon the instant for Paris, throw her- 
self at the feet of the First Consul, and ask his mercy for 
the four condemned men. She did not even take time to 
go to Amelie at the Chateau of Noires-Fontaines. She 
knew that Bonaparte's departure had been fixed for the 
first days of May, and it was already the 6th. When she 
had left Paris all his preparations had been made. She 
wrote a note to her daughter, explaining to her how, in 
attempting to save one of the accused men, she had con- 
demned them all to death. Then, as if ashamed of fail- 
ing to keep the promise which she had made both to 
Amelie and to herself, she sent for fresh post-horses, got 
into the carriage again, and started for Paris. She reached 
there on the morning of the 8th of May. Bonaparte had 



302 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



left on the evening of the 6th. When he started he had 
said that he was only going to Dijon, or perhaps to Gen- 
eva, but that in any case he should not be away more 
than three weeks. Even if the appeal of the condemned 
men should be rejected, it would take at least five or six 
weeks. All hope was not lost, therefore. But hope 
seemed dead when it was known that the review at Dijon 
was only a pretext, and that Bonaparte had never seriously 
intended to go to Geneva, but was on his way to Italy in- 
stead. Then Mme. de Montrevel, not wishing to call upon 
her son, since she knew the oath which he had taken at 
the time of Lord Tanlay's assassination and the part which 
he had played in the arrest of the companions of Jehu, 
addressed herself to Josephine, who promised to write to 
Bonaparte. That same evening she kept her word. 

But the case had made a great stir. These accused 
men were not like ordinary ones. Justice made haste in 
their case, and on the thirty-fifth day after the trial their 
appeal was rejected. News of this was immediately sent 
to Bourg, with an order to execute the condemned men 
within twenty-four hours. 

But although the minister of justice lost no time in 
sending his news, the judicial authority was not the first 
to hear of it. While the prisoners were walking in the 
inner court, a stone flew over the wall and fell at their feet. 
A letter was fastened to the stone. Morgan, who, even 
in prison preserved the authority of a chief, picked up 
the stone, opened the letter, and read it. Then turning 
towards his companions, he said : — 

" Gentlemen, our appeal is rejected, as we might have 
expected, and in all probability the ceremony will take 
place to-morrow." 

Valensolle and Eibier, who were playing at quoits with 
livres and louis, had stopped their play to listen to the 



HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 



303 



news. When they had heard it they resumed their game, 
without saying anything. 

Jahiat, who was reading " La Nouvelle Heloiise," took 
up his book again, saying : "I am afraid I shall not have 
time to finish M. Jean Jacques Eousseau's masterpiece. 
But upon my honor I am not sorry, for it is the most tire- 
some and unnatural book I have ever read." 

Sainte-Hermine, passing his hand across his forehead, 
murmured, " Poor Amelie ! " Then, seeing Charlotte, who 
was at the jailer's window which overlooked the prisoners' 
court, he went to her and said : " Tell Amelie that she 
must keep her promise to me to-night." 

The jailer's daughter shut the window, and kissing her 
father, told him that she would probably see him again 
during the evening. Then she took the road to Noires- 
Fontaines, — a road over which she had passed twice every 
day for the last two months ; once in the middle of the 
day, going to the prison, and once in the evening, return- 
ing to the chateau. Every evening when she came back 
she found Amelie in the same place, sitting at the window 
which in happier days had been opened to give entrance 
to her beloved Charles. 

Since the day of her faint after the jury's verdict, 
Amelie had not shed a tear and had scarcely pronounced a 
word. Unlike the ancient marble which became animated 
with a woman's soul, she was like a living being who was 
gradually turning to stone. Every day she seemed to be- 
come a little paler, a little colder. Charlotte looked at her 
in astonishment. Vulgar minds, accustomed to noisy de- 
monstrations of grief, to cries and tears, cannot understand 
mute suffering. They call it indifference. She was there- 
fore astonished at the calmness with which Amelie received 
the message that she brought. She did not see that 
Amelie's face in the twilight became livid rather than 



304 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



pale. She did not feel the deadly constraint that seemed 
to clutch Amelie's heart. She did not understand why, 
when her mistress moved to the door, a more automatic 
movement than usual seemed to animate her body. But 
she followed her. 

When they had reached the door Amelie put out her 
hand. " Wait for me here," she said. 

Charlotte obeyed. 

Amelie shut the door behind her, and went up to Ro- 
land's room. It was the room of a soldier and hunter, 
and its principal ornaments were weapons and trophies. 
There were all kinds of arms, native and foreign, from the 
blue-barrelled pistols of Versailles to the silver-pommelled 
ones of Cairo ; from the Spanish knife to the Turkish 
cangier. She took down four daggers with sharp and 
flexible blades, and eight pistols of different forms. 

She put some bullets in a bag, and some powder in a pow- 
der-horn ; then she went down again to Charlotte. Ten 
minutes afterwards, helped by her maid, she had resumed 
the disguise v/hich she had worn once before. 

They waited for the night ; but night comes late in the 
month of June. Amelie stood motionless and mute, 
leaning against the mantelpiece and looking through the 
open window at the village of Ceyzeriat, which was dis- 
appearing gradually in the twilight shadows. When she 
could see nothing except the lights in the different houses, 
she said, " Come ; it is time to go." The two young girls 
went out. Michel paid no attention to Amelie, whom he 
took to be one of Charlotte's friends who had been to see 
her, and whom she was accompanying on the way home. 

Ten o'clock struck as the two young girls passed be- 
fore the church of Brou. It was nearly a quarter past 
ten when Charlotte knocked at the prison door. Father 
Courtois opened it. We have already mentioned the poli- 



HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 



305 



tical opinions of the worthy jailer. He was a royalist. 
He had therefore the deepest sympathy for the four ac- 
cused men, and hoped, like everybody else, that Mme. de 
Montrevel, whose despair was well known, would obtain 
their pardon from the First Consul ; and he had soft- 
ened the captivity of his prisoners as much as was pos- 
sible, consistently with his duty, by taking away all 
useless restrictions. It is true that on the other hand, in 
spite of his sympathy, he had refused sixty thousand 
francs in gold — a sum which at that time was worth three 
times as much as it is to-day — to save them. But, as we 
have seen, when his daughter Charlotte confided in him, 
he had allowed Amelie in disguise to be present at the 
trial. The care and attention which the worthy man had 
paid Amelie when she herself had been a prisoner with 
Mme. de Montrevel will also be remembered. This time 
also, as if he had been ignorant of the failure of the 
appeal, he allowed her to enter without difficulty. Char- 
lotte told him that her young mistress was about to start 
that very night for Paris in order to hasten the pardon, 
and that before going she wished to take leave of the 
Baron of Sainte-Hermine and to ask for instructions as to 
her conduct. 

There were five doors between the prisoners and the 
street, a body-guard in the court, and an inner and outer 
sentinel, and consequently Father Courtois was not at 
all afraid that the prisoners would escape. He therefore 
permitted Amelie to see Morgan. He took a light and 
went before her. The young girl, as if prepared to start 
in the mail-coach when she left the prison, was holding a 
satchel in her hand. Charlotte followed her mistress. 

" You will recognize the cell, Mademoiselle de Montrevel. 
It is the same one in which you were shut up with Mme. 
de Montrevel your mother. The chief of these unfortu- 
vol. ii. — 20 



306 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



nate young men, Baron Charles de Sainte-Herniine, asked 
as a favor that he might be put into cell No. 1. I could 
not refuse him this consolation, knowing that the poor 
boy loved you. Oh, never fear, Mademoiselle Amelie ! 
that secret will never leave my mouth. Then he ques- 
tioned me, asking me where your mother's bed was and 
your own ; and when I told him, he wanted his cot placed 
in the same spot where yours had been. This was not 
difficult, and it was not only put in the same place but it 
was the very same cot. So that, since the day of his 
entrance to your prison, the poor young man has lain on 
it almost constantly." 

Amelie uttered a sigh which was almost a groan. She 
felt a tear ready to fall from her eyelids ; and that was 
something which she had not known for a long time. 
She was then loved as she herself loved, and it was from 
a stranger's disinterested mouth that she had received the 
proof. At the moment of an eternal separation this 
knowledge was the most beautiful diamond that she could 
have found in the jewel-casket of grief. 

The doors opened one after another before Father Cour- 
tois. When they came to the last one, Amelie put her 
hand on the jailer's shoulder. She thought she heard 
singing. She listened attentively. A voice was reciting 
some verses. But the voice was not that of Morgan ; it 
was unknown. What it said was at once as sad as an 
elegy and as religious as a psalm. It was Gilbert's beau- 
tiful ode, written by him upon a hospital bed, the night 
before his death. 

At last there was silence. Amelie, who had not wished 
to interrupt the condemned ones, made a sign to the jailer 
to go on. Father Courtois, who, jailer though he was, 
seemed to share the young girl's emotion, put the key as 
gently as possible into the lock, and the door opened. 



HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 



307 



Amelie glanced around the cell at the prisoners who in- 
habited it. Valensolle was standing up, leaning against 
the wall, and still holding in his hand the book from 
which he had just read the verses that Amelie had heard. 
Jahiat was sitting near the table, with his head resting 
upon his hand ; Eibier was sitting at the same table. 
Sainte-Hermine, with his eyes shut as if he were buried in 
the deepest slumber, was lying upon the bed. 

At sight of the young girl, whom they recognized, 
Jahiat and Eibier rose. Morgan remained motionless. 
He had heard nothing. Amelie went straight to him, and 
as if her feeling for her lover was sanctified by the ap- 
proach of death, without minding the presence of his 
three friends she bent over him, and putting her lips to 
his, murmured : " Awake, my Charles ! your Amelie has 
come to keep her word." Morgan uttered a joyful cry, 
and clasped the young girl in his arms. 

" Monsieur Courtois," said Montbar, " you are a worthy 
man. Permit us to leave these two poor young persons 
together. It would be wrong to trouble by our presence 
the few moments which they are to have together upon 
this earth." 

Father Courtois, without speaking, opened the door of 
the next cell. Valensolle, Jahiat, and Ribier entered, and 
he shut the door upon them. Then, motioning to Char- 
lotte to follow him, he also went away. 

The two lovers were alone. There are scenes which 
cannot be described ; words which cannot be repeated. 
God, who listens to them from his immortal throne, can 
alone tell what they contain of gloomy joys and sor- 
rowful delights. At the end of an hour the two young 
persons heard the key turn again in the lock. They were 
sad but calm, and the conviction that their separation 
would not be long gave them a gentle serenity. 



308 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



The worthy jailer seemed more embarrassed at this 
second appearance than at the first. Morgan and Amelie 
thanked him smilingly. He went to the door of the other 
cell. Valensolle, Jahiat, and Ribier came back again. 
Amelie, putting her left arm around Morgan, held out her 
hand to the other three. They all kissed the cold hand, 
and then Morgan led her to the door. 

"Au revoir" said Morgan. 

" I will be with you again soon," said Amelie. 

They sealed the words with a long kiss, after which 
they separated with such a deep groan that it seemed as 
if their hearts broke at the same time. The door shut 
behind Amelie, and the bolts and keys did their work. 

" Well 1 " asked Valensolle, Jahiat, and Ribier at once. 

"Here they are," replied Morgan, emptying the con- 
tents of a satchel upon the table. 

The three young men uttered a cry of joy as they saw 
the shining pistols and the sharp steel. Next to liberty, 
this was what they most desired. They felt a sorrowful 
and supreme joy at knowing themselves masters of their 
own lives, and, at an emergency, of those of others. 

In the mean time the jailer led Amelie to the outside 
door again. When he reached it he hesitated a moment ; 
then, putting his hand upon her arm, he said : " Mademoi- 
selle de Montrevel, pardon me for causing you such grief, 
but it is useless for you to go to Paris." 

" Because the appeal is rejected, and the execution 
takes place to-morrow, does it not 1 " replied Amelie. 

The jailer, in astonishment, took a step backward. 

" I knew it, my friend," continued Amelie. Then turn- 
ing to her maid, she said : " Take me to the nearest 
church, Charlotte. You will come for me again to-mor- 
row when all is over." 

The nearest church was not far off ; it was that of 



HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 



309 



Ste.-Claire. For the last three months, according to the 
orders of the First Consul, services had been held there. 
As it was nearly midnight, the church was shut; but 
Charlotte knew where the sacristan lived, and went to 
arouse him. 

Amelie remained alone, leaning against the wall, as 
motionless as the stone figures which ornamented the 
facade. At the end of a half hour the sacristan arrived. 
During that half hour Amelie had seen a mournful sight. 
Three men dressed in black had passed, accompanying a 
cart which by the light of the moon she had seen to be 
painted black. This cart was carrying some formless ob- 
jects, — huge planks, and strange ladders painted the 
same color. It was going towards the place of execution. 
Amelie guessed what it was. She fell on her knees with 
a cry. 

At this cry the men dressed in black turned around. It 
seemed to them that one of the sculptures above the door 
had become detached from its niche and was kneeling 
there before them. He who appeared to be their chief 
took a few steps towards Amelie. 

u Do not come any nearer, sir ! " she cried, " do not 
come any nearer to me ! 99 

The man humbly resumed his place and continued on 
his way, and the cart disappeared around the corner, but 
the noise of its wheels re-echoed for a long time upon the 
pavement and in Amelie's heart. 

When the sacristan and Charlotte came back they found 
the young girl on her knees. The sacristan made some 
objection to opening the church at such an hour, but a 
piece of gold and the name of Mdlle. de Montrevel, 
removed his scruples. A second piece of gold decided 
him to light up the little chapel. It was the same one in 
which, as a child, Amelie had taken her first communion. 



310 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



When the chapel was illuminated Amelie knelt at the 
foot of the altar and asked to be left alone. About three 
o'clock in the morning she saw light coming through the 
colored window which was above the Virgin's altar. This 
window chanced to face the east, so that the first rays of 
sunlight came straight to it like a message from God. 
Little by little the street woke up. Amelie noticed that 
it was noisier than usual; soon even the church roof 
trembled at the steps of a troop of horsemen. They were 
going towards the prison. A little before nine o'clock 
the young girl heard a loud murmur. Everybody seemed 
to be hastening in the same direction. She tried to bury 
herself still deeper in her prayers, in order not to hear 
these different noises, which spoke an unknown language 
to her heart, but which, however, she perfectly understood 
by reason of the anguish which they caused her. 

In truth, a terrible scene was taking place at the prison, 
and it was no wonder that everybody was running in that 
direction. When, about nine o'clock in the morning, 
Father Courtois entered the prisoners' cell to announce to 
them that their appeal was rejected, and that they must 
prepare for death, he found all four armed to the teeth. 
The jailer, taken unawares, was drawn into the cell, and 
the door was shut behind him ; then, while he did not 
even attempt to defend himself, so great was his surprise, 
the young men snatched his keys from him, and opening 
and shutting the door, they left him locked up in their place, 
while they went into the neighboring cell, where on the 
previous night Valensolle, Jahiat, and Eibier had waited 
until the interview between Morgan and Amelie should 
be ended. One of the keys opened a second door in this 
other cell ; this door led out into the prisoners' court. 

The prisoners' court was inclosed by three massive 
doors, which all led out into a sort of corridor ; and this, 



HOW AMfSLIE KEPT HER WORD. 



311 



in turn, led to the keeper's lodge. From this lodge fifteen 
steps led down into the prison yard, a vast court inclosed 
by a gate. This gate was usually left open, except at 
night. If circumstances had not caused it to be closed 
this day, it was possible that the opening would have 
given them an opportunity for flight. Morgan found the 
key of the prisoners' court, opened it, hastened with his 
companions into the lodge, and darted towards the steps 
which led into the prison yard. 

From the top step the four young men saw that all hope 
was gone. The gate of the prison yard was shut, and 
twenty-five men, policemen and dragoons, were drawn up 
in line before it. At sight of the four condemned men, 
free, and hastening towards the steps, a great cry of aston- 
ishment and terror rose from the crowd. Their appear- 
ance was indeed formidable. To preserve the liberty of 
their movements, and perhaps also to avoid those stains 
of blood which are seen so quickly on white linen, they 
were naked to the waist. A handkerchief knotted around 
their waists was bristling with arms. It needed only a 
look to understand that they were masters of their lives, 
if not of their liberty. 

In the midst of the clamor of the crowd and the clank- 
ing of sabres as they leaped from their scabbards the four 
men talked together for a moment. Then, after having 
pressed their hands, Montbar left his companions, went 
down the fifteen steps, and advanced to the gate. When 
he had nearly reached it he threw a last look and smile at 
his companions, gracefully bowed to the now silent crowd, 
and putting into his mouth the muzzle of one of his pis- 
tols, he blew out his brains. 

Confused and wild cries followed the explosion, but 
they ceased almost immediately. Valensolle was coming 
down in his turn. He held in his hand a dagger, with a 



312 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



straight sharp blade. His pistols, which he did not seem 
to intend to use, were in his belt. He advanced towards 
a little shed supported by three pillars, stopped at the first 
pillar, put the handle of the dagger against it, directed its 
point towards his heart, put his arms around the pillar, 
bowed once more to his friends, and pressed against the 
pillar until the entire dagger had disappeared in his chest. 
He stood still for a moment ; then a mortal pallor spread 
over his face, his arms fell, and he sank dead at the foot 
of the pillar. 

This time the crowd remained mute. It was frozen with 
fright. 

It was Ribier's turn. He held in his hand his two 
pistols. He advanced as far as the gate, and then aimed 
his pistols at the policemen. He did not fire, but the po- 
licemen did. Three or four shots were heard, and Ribier 
fell pierced by two bullets. 

A species of admiration had supplanted, in the minds 
of the audience, the different sentiments which they had 
at first felt at sight of these three deaths. They under- 
stood that the young men were willing to die, but that 
they were determined to die in their own way. They were 
therefore silent when Morgan, left alone, smilingly de- 
scended the steps and made a sign that he wished to 
speak. 

Moreover, what had this crowd lost, — this crowd so 
eager for blood % Had it not received more than it had 
expected 1 It had been promised four deaths just alike ; 
four heads cut off; and it was witnessing four deaths all 
different, all picturesque and unexpected. It was thus 
only natural that it should keep silent when Morgan ad- 
vanced. He held neither pistol nor dagger in his hand, — 
both were in his belt. He passed near Valensolle's corpse 
and placed himself between the other two. 



HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 



313 



" Gentlemen," said Morgan, " let us make a bargain." 
There was a silence so deep that it seemed as if every one 
had ceased to breathe. " You have seen one man who 
blew his brains out, another who killed himself with a 
dagger, and a third who was shot, and I can understand 
that you would like to see the fourth guillotined." A ter- 
rible shudder passed over the crowd. " Well," continued 
Morgan, " I ask nothing better than to give you that sat- 
isfaction. I am ready to give myself up ; but I desire to 
go to the scaffold of my own will, and without being 
touched by any one. If any one approaches me I will 
kill him, even should it be this gentleman," continued 
Morgan, pointing to the executioner. 

This demand evidently did not seem exorbitant to the 
crowd, for from every direction there were cries of " Yes, 
yes, yes ! " 

The officer of the mounted police saw that the shortest 
way would be to allow Morgan to do as he pleased. 
" Promise me," he said, " that if we leave your feet and 
hands free you will not attempt to escape." 

" I give you my word of honor," replied Morgan. 

" Well," said the officer, " get out of the way then, and 
let us take away these corpses." 

" That is only right," said Morgan ; and he moved a 
few steps away and leaned against the wall. 

The gate opened. The three men dressed in black en- 
tered the court and picked up the three bodies, one after 
the other. Eibier was not quite dead. He opened his 
eyes and seemed to look for Morgan. 

" Here I am," said the latter. " Have no fear, dear 
friend, — I am with you." 

Eibier shut his eyes again, without uttering a word. 

When the three bodies had been carried away the officer 
said : " Well, sir, are you ready 1 " 



314 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Yes," replied Morgan, Lowing with exquisite politeness. 
" Then, come." 

" Here I am," said Morgan ; and he placed himself 
between the policemen and the dragoons. 

"Do you want to go in the cart or on foot, sir? 19 asked 
the captain. 

" On foot ! on foot ! I know some of these people 
think I shall run away, but I am not afraid." 

The gloomy procession crossed the Place des Lices and 
went past the walls of the garden of the Hotel Montbazon. 
The cart drawing the three bodies went first ; then came the 
dragoons ; then Morgan, walking alone in an open space 
of a dozen steps or so; then the policemen, preceded by 
their captain. At the extremity of the wall the proces- 
sion turned to the left. 

Suddenly, in the opening between the garden and the 
great wall, Morgan saw the scaffold, holding up its two 
posts towards the sky, like two bloody arms. " Bah ! " he 
said, "I never saw a guillotine, and I did not know it 
was so ugly." And without any other explanation he 
drew his dagger from his belt and plunged it into his 
breast up to the hilt. 

The captain of police made a movement forward, but 
not in time to prevent the deed. He spurred his horse 
towards Morgan, who remained standing, to the great as- 
tonishment of everybody, including himself. 

But Morgan, drawing one of his pistols from his belt 
and cocking it, said : " Stop there ! It was agreed that 
no one should touch me. I will die alone, or I will kill 
two of you first. You may take your choice." 

The captain drew in his horse. 

" Let us go," said Morgan ; and he walked on again. 
When he reached the foot of the guillotine, Morgan 
drew the dagger from his wound and stabbed himself a 



HOW AMELIE KEPT HER WORD. 



315 



second time, as deeply as at first. A cry of rage rather 
than grief escaped him. " My soul must be fastened into 
my body ! " he said. 

Then, as the assistant wished to help him mount the 
staircase, at the head of which the executioner was wait- 
ing, he said : "Oh, I tell you again, do not touch me !" 
And he went up the steps without tottering. 

When he reached the platform, he drew the dagger from 
his wound and struck himself a third time. Then a 
frightful burst of laughter left his lips, and throwing at 
the feet of the executioner the dagger he had just drawn 
from the third wound, which was as ineffectual as the 
other two, he said : " Upon my word, I have had enough 
of it ! It is your turn now, and you may see what you 
can do." 

A moment later the head of the intrepid young man fell 
upon the scaffold, and by a phenomenon of that relentless 
vitality which he seemed to possess, leaped up and rolled 
off the instrument of torture. If you will go to Bourg, 
as I did, they will tell you that as his head bounded up 
it pronounced Amelie's name. 

The dead were executed after the living ; so that the 
spectators, instead of losing anything by the events 
which we have just related, received double the amount 
of their expectations. 



316 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE CONFESSION. 

Three days after the events just related, about seven 
o'clock in the evening, a carriage covered with dust, to 
which were attached two post-horses white with foam, 
stopped at the gate of Noires-Fontaines. To the great 
astonishment of the one who had seemed so eager to reach 
the place, the gate was wide open, people were standing in 
the courtyard, and the steps were covered with kneeling 
men and women. Then the sense of hearing awakening 
in proportion as astonishment gave more acuteness to his 
vision, the traveller thought he heard the ringing of a 
little bell. He opened the carriage door quickly, leaped 
out, crossed the courtyard rapidly, mounted the steps, and 
saw that the staircase which led to the first floor was cov- 
ered with people. He leaped over this staircase as he 
had leaped up the steps, hearing as he did so a religious 
murmur which seemed to come from Amelie's room. He 
advanced towards the room. The door was open. Beside 
the bed were kneeling Mme. de Montrevel and little Ed- 
ward, and a little farther off were Charlotte and Michel 
and his son. The cure of Ste.-Claire was administering 
the last sacrament to Amelie. The mournful scene was 
lighted only by two wax tapers. 

The traveller whose carriage had just stopped before the 
gate had been recognized as Roland. The people moved 
aside out of his way. He entered with uncovered head, 
and went and knelt beside his mother. 



THE CONFESSION. 



317 



The dying girl, lying upon her back with her hands 
crossed, her head raised on a pillow, and her eyes fixed 
upon heaven in a sort of ecstasy, did not seem to perceive 
Roland's arrival. It was almost as if, while the body was 
still in this world, the soul was already floating between 
earth and heaven. Mme. de Montrevel's hand sought 
that of Eoland, and the poor mother, having found it, let 
her head fall sobbing upon her son's shoulder. These ma- 
ternal sobs were apparently as inaudible to Amelie as 
Roland's presence had been unnoticed, for the young girl 
remained completely motionless. But when the sacra- 
ment was administered to her, when eternal happiness was 
promised her by the consoling mouth of the priest, her 
marble lips seemed to move, and she murmured in a feeble 
but intelligible voice, — 

" So be it!" 

Then the little bell rang again; the choir boy who 
was carrying it went out first, then the two assistants with 
the wax tapers, and then those who bore the cross, fol- 
lowed finally by the priest carrying the sacrament. All 
the strangers went with the procession. Those who be- 
longed to the house, and the members of the family, were 
left alone. The house, which a moment before had been 
filled with noise and people, was silent and almost de- 
serted. The dying girl had not moved. Her lips were 
shut, her hands clasped, her eyes raised to heaven. 

At the end of a few minutes Roland leaned towards 
Mme. de Montrevel, and said to her in a low tone : 
" Come, Mamma ; I must speak to you." 

Mme. de Montrevel rose. She drew little Edward to- 
wards his sister's bed ; the child stood up on tip-toe and 
kissed Amelie's forehead. Then Mme. de Montrevel came 
after him, bending over her daughter and kissing her, sob- 
bingly. Roland came in his turn, broken-hearted, but 



318 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



with dry eyes. He would Lave given much to be able to 
shed the tears which were filling his heart. He kissed 
Amelie, as his brother and mother had done. She seemed 
as insensible to this kiss as to the two which had pre- 
ceded it. Edward went out first, and Mme. de Montre- 
vel and Koland, following him, moved towards the door. 

As they were about to cross the threshold they all 
stopped suddenly. They had distinctly heard Roland's 
name pronounced. Roland turned around. Amelie for 
the second time pronounced her brother's name. 

" Do you want me, Amelie ? " asked Roland. 

" Yes," replied the voice of the dying girl. 

" Alone or with my mother 1 n 

" Alone." 

The voice, monotonous but perfectly intelligible, had 
something icy about it. It seemed to be an echo from 
another world. 

" Go, Mamma," said Roland ; " you see that Amelie 
wishes to speak to me alone." 

" 0 God ! " murmured Mme. de Montrevel, " can there 
be a last hope? " 

Low as the words were pronounced, the dying girl heard 
them. " "No, Mamma," she said ; " God has permitted 
me to see my brother again, but to-night I shall be in 
heaven." 

Mme. de. Montrevel groaned heavily. "Roland, Ro- 
land," she said, " does it not seem as if she were already 
there 1 " 

Roland made her a sign to leave them alone. Mme. de 
Montrevel went away with little Edward. Roland came 
back, shut the door, and, almost overcome by emotion, re- 
turned to Amelie's bedside. Her body was rigid and her 
breath so feeble that it would scarcely have tarnished a 
mirror. The eyes alone, wide open, were fixed and shin- 



THE CONFESSION. 



319 



ing, as if everything that remained of existence was cen- 
tred in them. Roland had heard of the strange condition 
called ecstasy, which is nothing more nor less than cata- 
lepsy. He understood that Amelie was a victim to this 
death in life. 

" Here I am, sister/' he said ; " what do you want ? " 

"I knew that you were coming," replied the young girl, 
still motionless, "and I was waiting for you." 

"How did you know that I was coming?" asked 
Roland. 

" I saw you coming." 

Roland shivered. "And," he asked, "did you know 
why I was coming 1 ?" 

" Yes ; and I therefore prayed to God from the bottom 
of my heart, and he permitted me to rise and write." 

"When?" 

" Last night." 

"And the letter?" 

" It is under my pillow ; take it and read it." 

Roland hesitated for a moment, for he thought that his 
sister was delirious. " Poor Amelie ! " he murmured. 

"You must not pity me," said the young girl ; "I am 
going to join him." 

" Whom ? " asked Roland. 

" The man whom I loved and you killed." 

Roland uttered a cry. This must be delirium. Of 
whom was his sister speaking ? " Amelie," he said, " I came 
to question you." 

"About Lord Tanlay? I know it," replied the young 
girl. 

" You know it ? And how ? " 

" did I not tell you that I saw you coming, and knew 
why you were coming ? " 
" Then answer me." 



320 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



" Do not turn me away from God and him, Eoland. I 
have written to you ; read my letter." 

Roland put his hand under the pillow, convinced that 
his sister was delirious. To his great astonishment he felt 
a paper there, and drew it out. It was a letter enclosed 
in an envelope. Upon the envelope was written : " To 
Eoland, who will be here to-morrow." He drew near the 
night-lamp in order to read more easily. The letter was 
dated on the preceding night at eleven o'clock. 

Eoland read : — 

" My brother, we have each of us done a terrible thing, for 
which we must ask pardon." 

Eoland looked at his sister, who remained motionless. 
He continued : — 

u I loved Charles de Sainte-Hermine. I did more than love 
him ; he was my lover." 

" Oh ! " murmured the young man between his teeth, 
"he shall die !" 

" He is dead," said Amelie. 

Eoland uttered a cry of astonishment. He had spoken 
the words in such a low tone that he had barely heard 
them himself. His eyes went back to the letter : — 

" No legal union was possible between the sister of Roland 
de Montrevel and the chief of the companions of Jehu. That 
was the terrible secret which I could not tell, and which was 
devouring me. Only one person had a right to know of it ; he 
knew it. That person was Sir John Tanlay. May God bless 
the man of loyal heart who promised me to break off an im- 
possible marriage, and who kept his word ! May the life of 
Lord Tanlay be sacred to you, Roland ! He is the only friend 
I have had in my sorrow, — the only man whose tears have 
mingled with mine. 

" I loved Charles de Sainte-Hermine, and I was his mistress. 



THE CONFESSION. 



321 



That is the terrible thing for which you must pardon me. 
But on the other hand, it is you who have caused his death. 
That is the terrible thing which I must pardon you. And now 
come quickly, Eoland, since I cannot die until you arrive. 
To die is to see him again ; to die is to rejoin him, never to 
leave him. I am happy to die." 

All was clear and precise, and it was evident that there 
was no trace of delirium in the letter. Eoland read it twice, 
and remained motionless for a moment, — mute, breath- 
ing heavily, full of anxiety. But finally pity overcame 
anger. He drew near to Amelie, put out his hand, and in 
a gentle voice said : — 

" Sister, I pardon you." 

A slight thrill went through the limbs of the dying girl. 
"And now," she said, "call our mother, for I must die 
in her arms." 

Eoland went to the door and called Mme. de Mon- 
trevel. The door of her room was open. She had evi- 
dently expected a summons, and she hastened at once. 

" What is it ? " she asked quickly. 

"Nothing," replied Eoland, "except that Amelie has 
asked to die in your arms." 

Mme. de Montrevel entered, and fell upon her knees 
beside her daughter's bed. And then the young girl, as 
if an invisible arm had loosened the bonds which had 
seemed to hold her fast, rose slowly, unclasped the hands 
which lay upon her breast, and allowed one of them to 
slip into that of her mother. 

" Mamma," she said, " you have given me life, and you 
have taken it from me. May God bless you ! it was the 
kindest thing that you could do for me, since there was 
no more happiness possible for your daughter in this 
world." 

Then as Eoland came to kneel on the other side of the 

VOL. II. — 21 



322 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



bed, she put her other hand upon his. " We have for- 
given each other, brother 1 " she said. 

" Yes, poor Amelie," replied Eoland, " from the depths 
of our hearts." 

" I have only one thing to ask of you." 

"What is it?" 

"Do not forget that Lord Tanlay has been my best 
friend." 

"You may rest assured," said Eoland, "that Lord 
Tanlay's life is sacred to me." 

Amelie sighed. Then in a voice in which it was im- 
possible to recognize any other alteration than an increas- 
ing feebleness, she said : — 

" Farewell, Eoland ! farewell, Mamma ! you will kiss 
Edward for me." Then with a cry which came from her 
heart, and in which there was more joy than sadness, she 
said, " Here I am, Charles ! here I am!" And she fell 
back upon her bed, clasping her hands once more over her 
breast as she did so. 

Eoland and Mme. de Montrevel rose and bent over 
her. She had resumed her former position ; but her eye- 
lids were shut, and the feeble breath had ceased to leave 
her chest. Her martyrdom was finished, and Amelie was 
dead. 



INVULNERABLE. 



323 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

INVULNERABLE. 

Am^lie died on the night of Monday, the 2d of June, 
1800. On the evening of Thursday, the 5th, the Grand 
Opera was thronged, for there was a second representation 
of "Ossian, or the Bards." The First Consul's deep ad- 
miration for songs collected by Macpherson was well 
known, and, more from flattery than from literary choice, 
the National Academy of Music had ordered an opera 
which, in spite of the haste that was made, was not pro- 
duced until nearly a month after General Bonaparte had 
left Paris to join the reserve army. 

In the left balcony, a music lover was attracting atten- 
tion by the earnestness with which he watched the play, 
when, in the interval between the first and second acts, the 
box-opener, slipping between two rows of seats, approached 
him and asked in a low tone, — 

"I beg your pardon, sir, but are you not Lord 
Tanlayr 

" Yes," replied the other. 

" Then, my lord, a young man who says he has a com- 
munication of the greatest importance to make to you, 
begs you to be good enough to join him in the corridor." 

" Oh," said Sir John, " an officer ? " 

" He is dressed as a citizen, my lord, but he looks like 
a soldier." 

" Good ! " said Sir John ; " I know who it is." He 
rose and followed the box-opener. 



324 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



At the entrance of the corridor Eoland was waiting. 
Lord Tanlay did not seem astonished at seeing him, but 
the stern face of the young man repressed his lordship's 
first outburst of deep sympathy. 

"Here I am, sir," said Sir John. 

Roland bowed. " I have just come from your res- 
idence, my lord," said Eoland ; "and I found that for 
some time you have been in the habit of telling the door- 
keeper where you were going, so that any one who had 
business with you might know where to find you." 

" That is true, sir." 

" The precaution is a good one, particularly for those 
who come from a distance, and who, being pressed for 
time, have, like myself, no leisure to waste." 

" Then," said Sir John, " it is for the sake of seeing 
me that you left the army and came to Paris ] 99 

" Solely for that honor, my lord ; and I hope you will 
guess the cause of my eagerness, and will spare me all 
explanations." 

" Montrevel," said Sir John, "I am entirely at your 
disposal." 

" At what hour may two of my friends present them- 
selves to you to-morrow, my lord 1 " 

" At any time from seven in the morning until mid- 
night, sir, unless you prefer them to come immediately." 

" No, my lord, I have only this moment arrived, and I 
must have time to find these two friends and give them 
my instructions. They will not disturb you, in all prob- 
ability, before eleven or twelve o'clock ; but I would be 
grateful to you if the affair which is to be arranged 
through them could take place on the same day." 

"I believe the thing to be practicable, sir; and if 
it is possible to satisfy your desire, I shall cause no 
delay." 



INVULNERABLE. 



325 



" That is all I wanted to know, my lord. I should be 
very sorry to disturb you longer now." And Eoland 
bowed. 

Sir John returned his bow, and while the young man 
went away he re-entered the balcony and took his former 
place. Everything that they had said had been in so low 
a tone and with such unmoved faces that the nearest per- 
sons could not eve have suspected that there was any- 
thing approaching a quarrel between the two men who 
had just bowed to each other so courteously. 

It was the evening of the minister of war's recep- 
tion. Roland went back to his apartments, removed all 
traces of the journey which he had just taken, entered a 
carriage, and at a few minutes before ten o'clock was an- 
nounced at the house of citizen Carnot. Two motives 
led him there. The first one was a verbal communication 
which he brought to the minister of war from the First 
Consul ; and the second was the hope of finding in his 
salon two friends who would serve him in his meeting 
with Sir John. 

Everything took place as Roland had hoped. He gave 
the minister of war the most precise details concerning 
the passage of the St.-Bernard and the situation of the 
army, and found in his salon the two friends for whom he 
was looking. A few words sufficed to tell them what he 
desired, for soldiers are accustomed to that sort of thing. 
Roland spoke of a grave insult, which must remain a secret 
even from those who were to be present at its expiation. 
He declared himself to be the offended one, and claimed 
for himself the choice of arms and the method of combat, 
as being advantages which were his right. The two 
young men were to present themselves on the following 
day at nine o'clock in the morning at the Hotel Mirabeau, 
Rue de Richelieu, and to talk with Lord Tanlay's two 



326 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



seconds ; after which they were to rejoin Roland at the 
Hotel de Paris on the same street. 

Roland went to his apartments at eleven o'clock, wrote 
for an hour or more, then went to bed and went to sleep. 
At half-past nine the next morning his two friends came 
to him. They had just left Sir John. Sir John had 
recognized all Roland's claims, had said that he would 
discuss none of the conditions of the fight, and that since 
Roland considered himself the offended party, he was to 
dictate all the details. When they had told his lordship 
that they had expected to meet two of his friends and not 
himself, Lord Tanlay had remarked that he knew no one 
in Paris intimately enough to call upon him in such an 
affair, and that he therefore hoped that when they reached 
the ground one of Roland's two friends would act as his 
second. In short, in all things they had found Lord 
Tanlay to be a perfect gentleman. 

Roland said that his adversary's request to be assisted 
by one of his own seconds was not only just, but right ; 
and he authorized one of the two young men to assist Sir 
John and care for his interests. It only remained for 
Roland to dictate the conditions of the duel. They were 
to fight with pistols. When the two pistols were loaded, 
the adversaries were to place themselves five feet apart, 
and when the seconds had clapped their hands three times, 
they were to fire. 

It was, as will be seen, a duel to the death, in which 
the one who was not killed would owe his life to his ad- 
versary's mercy. The two young men began to object ; 
but Roland insisted, declaring that as he was sole judge 
of the gravity of the offence, he alone could decide whether 
the reparation was too great. They were obliged to yield 
to his obstinacy. The one who was to assist Sir John 
declared that he would promise nothing on the part of 



INVULNERABLE. 



327 



his principal, and that unless by absolute order from him 
he would never permit such a blood-thirsty affair. 

" Do not excite yourself, my friend," said Roland ; " I 
know Sir John, and I believe that he will be more accom- 
modating than you." 

The two young men went out once more to Sir John's 
rooms. They found him breakfasting in true English style, 
with a beefsteak, potatoes, and tea. When they came in, 
he rose and asked them to share his meal, and upon their 
refusal put himself at their disposal. Roland's two friends 
began by telling him that he might count on one of them 
to assist him. Then the one who was to act for Roland 
related the conditions of the meeting. 

At each one of Roland's demands Sir John, in token of 
assent, contented himself with replying, " Very well." 

The one who was to care for Sir John's interests at- 
tempted to make some observations upon the method of 
righting, which must, unless by some impossible chance, 
lead to the death of both competitors ; but Lord Tanlay 
begged him not to insist. 

"M. de Montrevel is a gallant man," he said. "I 
do not care to contradict him in anything. What he 
wants shall be done." 

The hour of meeting was still to be decided. On this 
point, as on the others, Lord Tanlay left everything to 
Roland. The two seconds left Sir John, more delighted 
with him at their second interview than at their first. 

Roland was waiting for them, and they told him every- 
thing. " What did I tell you 1 " he said. 

They asked him concerning the hour and the place. 
Roland fixed upon seven o'clock in the evening, in the 
Alley de la Muette. This was the hour at which the Bois 
was almost deserted, and there would be sufficient light at 
that time, as it was the month of June, for two adversa- 



328 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



ries to fight with any kind of weapons. No one had 
spoken of the pistols. The two young men offered to go 
and get some from the gunsmith. 

" No/' said Roland. " Lord Tanlay has a pair of ex- 
cellent pistols which I have already used. If he does 
not object to fighting with them I should prefer them 
to others." 

The young man who was to serve as second for Sir 
John went once more to find him, and to put to him the 
three final questions ; namely, whether the hour and place 
of meeting would suit him, and whether he would allow 
his pistols to be used in the fight. Lord Tanlay replied 
by regulating his watch by that of his second, and by 
handing him a box of pistols. 

" Shall I come for you, my lord 1 " asked the young 
man. 

Sir John smiled sadly. " It is useless," he said. " You 
are M. de Montrevel's friend. The journey would be 
more agreeable with him than with me, and you had better 
go with him, therefore. I will go on horseback, with my 
servant, and you will find me at the appointed place." 

The young officer brought back this reply to Roland. 
« What did I tell you 1 " said the latter. 

It was noon. They had seven hours before them. 
Roland gave his two friends permission to do what they 
pleased for that length of time. Precisely at half-past 
six they were to be at Roland's door with three horses 
and two servants. . It was important, in order not to be 
disturbed, to give to all the preparations of the duel the 
appearance of a simple ride. 

As half-past six sounded, the hotel boy came to tell 
Roland that some one was waiting for him at the street 
door. The two seconds and the two servants were there. 
One of the latter held a horse by the bridle. Roland 



INVULNERABLE. 



329 



made a sign of greeting to the two officers, and leaped 
into the saddle. Then by way of the Boulevards they 
gained the Champs ^llysees. 

On the way the strange phenomenon which had aston- 
ished Sir John so much on the occasion of Roland's duel 
with M. de Barjols occurred again. Roland was full of 
a gayety which would have seemed exaggerated if it had 
not been so plainly genuine. The two young men, who 
knew him to be courageous, were puzzled at such apparent 
carelessness. They could have understood it in an or- 
dinary duel, where coolness and skill gave a man the 
hope of prevailing over his adversary ; but in a combat 
like the one before them, neither skill nor coolness could 
save the duellists, if not from death, at least from some 
frightful wound. Moreover, Roland urged his horse like 
a man who is in haste to arrive, so that five minutes be- 
fore the time fixed he was at one end of the Alley de la 
Muette. 

A man was walking up and down. Roland recognized 
Sir John. The two young men watched Roland's face as 
he caught sight of his adversary. To their great aston- 
ishment, the only expression which was visible there was 
one of almost tender kindliness. 

A moment more and the four principal actors in the 
scene which was about to take place met and bowed. Sir 
John was perfectly calm, but his face was profoundly sad. 
It was evident that this meeting was as sorrowful to him 
as it seemed to be agreeable to Roland. They dismounted. 
One of the two seconds took the box of pistols from the 
hands of one of the servants, and told the men to follow the 
road as if they were exercising their masters' horses ; they 
need not come back again until they heard two pistol-shots. 
Sir John's groom was to join them, and follow their ex- 
ample. The two duellists and their two seconds entered 



330 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



the woods, going through the thickest of the undergrowth 
to find a suitable spot. 

As Roland had foreseen, the place was deserted. Dinner- 
time had taken away all the promenaders. They found a 
sort of clearing, which seemed to have been made expressly 
for the occasion. The sentinels looked at Roland and Sir 
John. They both nodded. 

" Nothing is changed 1 ?" asked one of the seconds of 
Lord Tanlay. 

"Ask M. de Montrevel," said Lord Tanlay. "I am 
entirely under his orders." 
" Nothing," said Roland. 

They drew the pistols from the bags and began to load 
them. Sir John kept at one side, switching the tall grass 
with the end of his riding-whip. Roland looked at him, 
seemed to hesitate for a moment, and then, taking his re- 
solve, went up to him. Sir John raised his head and 
waited, evidently hopeful. 

"My lord," said Roland to him, "there are certain 
things concerning which I may have some complaint to 
make of you, but I nevertheless believe you to be a man 
of your word." 

" And you are right, sir," replied Sir John. 

" Are you willing, if you survive me, to keep for me 
here the promise which you made at Avignon 1 " 

" There is no probability that I shall survive you, sir," 
replied Lord Tanlay ; "but you may command me as long 
as I have a breath left in me." 

"I refer to the disposal of my body." 

"Are your wishes the same here that they were at 
Avignon ? " 

" They are the same, my lord." 

"Very well, you may rest perfectly easy." 

Roland bowed to Sir John, and returned to his two 
friends. 



INVULNERABLE. 



331 



" In case anything should happen to you, have you any 
particular commands for us 1 " asked one of them. 
" Only one." 
" What is it 1 " 

" You are not to oppose Lord Tanlay in anything that 
he shall decide concerning my body and my funeral ; for 
the rest, there is in my left hand a note which is destined 
for him in case I should be killed without having time to 
utter a few words. You will open my hand and give the 
note to him." 

" Is that all?" 

"That is all." 

" The pistols are loaded." 

" Very well ; tell Lord Tanlay." 

One of the young men went towards Sir John. The 
other one measured out five paces. 

Eoland saw that the distance was greater than he had 
thought. " I beg your pardon," he exclaimed, " I said 
three paces." 

" Five," replied the officer who was measuring the 
distance. 

"Not at all, my dear sir ; you are wrong." He turned 
towards Sir John, and his second looked at them 
questioningly. 

" Three paces will do very well," said Sir John ? 
bowing. 

There was nothing to be said, since the two adversaries 
were of the same opinion. They reduced the five paces 
to three. Then they placed upon the earth two swords, 
to mark the limits. Sir John and Roland drew near each 
other until their feet touched the edges of the swords. 
Then they were each given a loaded pistol. They 
bowed to each other, to signify that they were ready. 
The seconds moved away. They were to clap their hands 



332 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



three times. At the first clap the adversaries were to aim 
their pistols, at the second they were to make ready, 
and at the third they were to fire. 

The three blows with the hands sounded forth at equal 
distances, from the midst of the deepest silence. It 
seemed as if the wind itself kept quiet, and as if the 
leaves were mute. The duellists were calm, but a percep- 
tible anguish was painted upon the faces of the two sec- 
onds. At the third stroke the two reports sounded so 
simultaneously that there seemed to be only one. But to 
the great astonishment of the two seconds, the two duel- 
lists remained standing. At the moment of firing, Koland 
had turned his pistol towards the ground ; Lord Tanlay 
had raised his and cut off a branch behind Roland, three 
feet above his head. Each of the two duellists was evi- 
dently astonished at one fact, and that was to be still alive 
after having spared his adversary. 

Roland was the first to speak. " My lord," he cried, 
" my sister spoke truly when she told me that you were 
the most generous man in the world." And throwing 
down his pistol he held out his arms to Sir John. 

Sir John threw himself into them. M Ah, I under- 
stand," he said ; " you wished to die this time, also ; but 
happily God has not permitted me to be your murderer." 

The two seconds approached. " What is the matter 1 " 
they asked. 

" Nothing," said Roland, "except that, having decided 
to die, I wished to die by the hand of a man whom I 
love better than any one in the world. Unfortunately, as 
you have seen, he preferred to die himself rather than to 
kill me. — Well," he added in a low tone, "I see that it 
is a task which must be reserved for the Austrians." Then 
throwing himself once more into Lord Tanlay's arms, and 
shaking hands with his two friends, he said : " Excuse me, 



INVULNERABLE. 



333 



gentlemen, but the First Consul is about to fight a great 
battle in Italy, and I have no time to lose if I wish to be 
there." 

Leaving Sir John to give to the officers any expla- 
nations which they should care to ask of him, Koland 
went back to the road, leaped upon his horse, and re- 
turned to Paris at a gallop. Still possessed by this fatal 
mania for death, we have heard what was his last hope 
of finding it. 



s 



334 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

CONCLUSION. 

However, the French army had continued its march, and 
on the 2d of June had entered Milan. It met with little 
resistance there. The fortress of Milan had been block- 
aded; Murat, sent to Plaisance, had taken it without 
striking a blow ; and, finally, Lannes had beaten General 
Ott at Montebello. Thus placed, they had gained the rear 
of 'the Austrian army unobserved. 

On the night of the 8th of June a messenger came 
from Murat, who, as we have just said, occupied Plaisance. 
Murat had intercepted a despatch from General Melas, and 
had sent it to the First Consul. This despatch announced 
the capitulation of Genes. Massena, after having eaten 
horses, dogs, cats, and rats, had been forced to yield. 
Melas treated the reserve army with the deepest disdain. 
He spoke of Bonaparte's presence in Italy as being a 
fable, and said he knew from certain information that the 
First Consul was still in Paris. This was news which 
must be immediately communicated to Bonaparte, since 
the capitulation of Genes brought it within the list of 
bad news. Consequently Bourrienne awoke the General 
at three o'clock in the morning, and translated the despatch 
to him. 

Bonaparte's first remark was : " Bourrienne, you do not 
understand German." 

But Bourrienne began the translation again, word for 
word. After the second reading the General rose, had 



CONCLUSION. 



335 



everybody waked, gave his orders, and then went to bed 
and to sleep again. 

That very day, leaving Milan, Bonaparte established 
his headquarters at Stradella, remained there until the 
12th of June, started again on the 13th, and march- 
ing upon Scrivia, crossed Montebello, where he saw the 
battlefield, still bleeding and torn with Lannes's victory. 
Traces of blood were everywhere. The church was full 
of dead and wounded. 

''There has been warm work here," said the First 
Consul, addressing the conqueror. 

" So warm, General, that the bones of my division 
cracked like hail upon the window-panes." 

On the 11th of June, while the general was still at 
Stradella, Desaix rejoined him there. Set free by the 
capitulation of El-Arich, he had arrived at Toulon on 
the 6th of May, the very day that Bonaparte had left 
Paris. At the foot of the St. Bernard the First Consul 
had received a letter from him, asking if he should go to 
Paris or rejoin the army. 

" Go to Paris ! " repeated Bonaparte ; " what an idea ! 
Write to him to rejoin us in Italy at headquarters, 
wherever we may be." 

Bourrienne wrote, and, as we have said, Desaix reached 
Stradella on the 12th of June. The First Consul had two 
reasons for being glad to see him. In the first place he 
was a man without ambition, an intelligent officer, and a 
devoted friend ; then again, Desaix had arrived in time to 
replace Boudet, who had just been killed. 

Eelying upon a false report which General Gardanne had 
received, the First Consul believed that the enemy had 
refused battle and was retiring upon Genes, and he sent 
Desaix and his division along the road to Novi to cut off 
the retreat. The night of the 13th passed in perfect 



336 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



quiet. On the previous night there had been, in spite of 
the terrible storm, an engagement in which the Austrians 
had been beaten. It seemed as if Nature and man were 
alike resting from their labors. Bonaparte's mind was 
easy. There was only a single bridge over the Bormida, and 
he had been assured that this bridge was broken. Advance 
posts had been placed as near as possible to Bormida, and 
they were themselves watched by groups of four men. 
The whole night was occupied by the enemy in crossing 
the river. At two o'clock in the morning two of these 
groups of four men were surprised, and seven men were 
killed. The eighth escaped and ran, crying i6 To arms ! " 
to give the alarm to the sentinels. At the same time a 
messenger was sent off in haste to the First Consul, who 
was sleeping at Torre-di-Garofolo : but while waiting for 
orders, the drum beat all along the line. 

One must have been present at a similar scene in order 
to get an idea of the effect produced upon a sleeping army 
by a drum calling the soldiers to arms at three o'clock in 
the morning. It is enough to make the bravest shudder. 
The soldiers had gone to sleep ready dressed. Each one 
rose and seized his arms. The lines formed on the vast 
plains of Marengo. The sound of the drum was heard 
like a long train of pow T der, and in the semi-obscurity sen- 
tinels could be seen running to and fro. 

When day rose, the French troops occupied the fol- 
lowing positions : The division of Gardanne and that of 
Chamberlhac, forming the extreme advance guard, were 
placed at the small country-seat of Petra-Bona, at an 
angle which is formed in the road from Marengo to Tor- 
tone by the Bormida as it crosses this road to empty into 
the Tanaro. The corps of General Lannes was before the 
village of San Giuliano, — the same which the First Consul 
had pointed out three months before to Roland, saying to 



CONCLUSION. 



337 



him that in that place would be decided the destiny of 
the next campaign. The Consul's guard was placed a 
short distance behind the corps of General Lannes. The 
cavalry brigade, under the orders of General Kellermann, 
and a few squadrons of hussars and chasseurs, formed the 
left wing, and filled in, on the first line, the intervals of 
the divisions of Gardanne and Chamberlhac. A second 
brigade of cavalry, commanded by General Chain peaux, 
formed on the right, and filled in on the second line the 
intervals in the cavalry of General Lannes. And finally, 
the twelfth regiment of hussars and the twenty-first of 
chasseurs, detached by Murat, under General Bivaud's 
command, occupied the extreme right of the general 
position. 

All these made twenty-five or twenty-six thousand men, 
without counting the divisions of Monnier and Boudet, — 
about ten thousand in all, — commanded by Desaix, and 
separated from the main army in order to cut off the 
retreat of the enemy on the road to Genes. 

Instead of retreating, the enemy attacked. On the 13th, 
during the day, Melas, who was general-in-chief of the 
Austrian army, had finished uniting the troops of Gen- 
erals Haddick, Kaim, and Ott, and had passed the Tanaro 
and gone into camp before Alexandria with thirty-six 
thousand infantry, seven thousand cavalry, and a large 
number of pieces of artillery, well furnished and mounted. 
At four o'clock in the morning firing began on the right, 
and General Victor assigned to each one his line of 
battle. 

At five o'clock Bonaparte was awakened by the noise of 
cannon. While he was hastily dressing himself, one of 
Victor's aides-de-camp came in haste to tell him that the 
enemy had passed the Bormida, and that they were fight- 
ing all along the line. The First Consul ordered his 
vol. n. — 22 



338 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



horse, leaped upon it, and hastened at a gallop towards 
the place where the battle had begun. From the top of a 
little hill he saw the position of the two armies. The 
enemy had formed in three columns. That on the left, 
composed of all the cavalry and the light infantry, were 
on the way towards Castel Ceriolo by the way of Salo, 
while the columns on the centre and the right, keeping 
close to each other, and comprising the infantry of Gen- 
erals Had dick, Kaim, and O'Reilly, and the reserve gren- 
adiers under the orders of General Ott, were advancing 
upon the Tortone road, going up the Bormida. At their 
first step beyond the river, these two latter columns had 
met the troops of General Gardanne, posted, as we have 
said, at the farm and on the ravine of Petra-Bona ; and it 
was the sound of their artillery which had brought Bon- 
aparte to the battlefield. He arrived just as Gardanne's 
division, overwhelmed by the fire of this artillery, was 
beginning to reply, and as General Victor was bringing 
up the Chamberlhac division to his help. Covered by 
this movement, Gardanne's troops retired in good order 
and entered the village of Marengo. 

The situation was a grave one. All the accustomed 
combinations of the general-in-chief were overturned. 
Instead of attacking as usual, with his forces massed to- 
gether, he was attacked before he had had time to con- 
centrate his troops. Taking advantage of the land, which 
broadened before them, the Austrians ceased to march in 
columns, and separated in lines parallel to those of Gen- 
erals Gardanne and Chamberlhac. But they were two to 
one ! The first of the hostile lines was commanded by 
General Haddick, the second by General Melas, and the 
third by General Ott. At a short distance in front of the 
Bormida there was a little brook called Fontanone. This 
brook ran through a deep ravine, which formed a half 



CONCLUSION. 



339 



circle around the village of Marengo and protected it. 
General Victor had already seen the advantage that might 
be taken of this natural intrenchment, and had used it in 
rallying the divisions of Gardanne and Chamberlhac. 
Bonaparte approved of Victor's arrangements, and sent 
him the order to defend Marengo to the last extremity. 
He himself wanted time to think over his moves upon 
this great chess-board between the Bormida, the Font- 
auone, and Marengo. 

The first thing to be done was to recall Desaix's divi- 
sion, on its way, as we have said, to cut off the road to 
Genes. Bonaparte sent off two or three aides-de-camp in 
haste, ordering them not to stop until they had met 
Desaix's troops. Then he waited, understanding that 
there was nothing to be done except to retire in as good 
order as possible until a compact mass would permit him 
not only to check the retrograde movement but to make 
a forward one instead. But the waiting was terrible. 

After another moment, firing began again all along the 
line. The Austrians had reached the border of the Font- 
anone, upon whose other bank were the French. They 
fired from each side of the ravine, within pistol-shot of 
each other. Protected by a terrible artillery, the enemy, 
superior in numbers, had only to extend their lines in 
order to overspread the French. General Rivaud, of 
Gardanne's division, saw them making ready for this move- 
ment. He left the village of Marengo, placed a battalion 
in the open fields, and ordered them to stay there without 
drawing back a step, even if they were cut to pieces. 
Then, while this battalion served as a check for the enemy's 
artillery, he formed his cavalry into a column, went around 
the battalion, charged upon three thousand Austrians who 
were advancing at double-quick, repulsed them, and sent 
them back in disorder, and although he was wounded by 



340 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



a musket shot, forced them to go behind their own line in 
order to re-form; after which he placed himself at tho 
right of the battalion, which had not moved a step. 

In the mean time Gardanne's division, which had been 
fighting since morning, was thrown back upon Marengo, 
where it was followed by the first line of the Austrians, 
which soon forced Chamberlhac's division to turn back 
again and form anew behind the village. There, an aide- 
de-camp of the general-in-chief ordered the two divisions 
to rally, and, cost what it might, to take Marengo again . 
General Victor formed them once more, put himself at 
their head, penetrated into the streets, which the Aus- 
trians had not had time to barricade, took the village, 
lost it again, and took it once more. Then, finally 
overwhelmed by numbers, they lost it for the last 
time. 

It was now eleven o'clock in the morning, and by that 
time Desaix, warned by Bonaparte's aides-de-camp, was 
probably marching towards the battle. However, Lannes's 
division came to the help of those who were fighting ; and 
these reinforcements helped Gardanne and Chamberlhac 
to re-form their lines parallel with those of the enemy, 
which extended beyond Marengo both at the right and the 
left of the village. The Austrians were about to spread 
beyond the French. Lannes, forming his centre from 
Victor's divisions, extended his lines with the least 
fatigued of his own troops, in order to oppose the two 
Austrian wings. The two bodies, one elated by the be- 
ginning of victory, the other fresh from rest, hurled them- 
selves at each other furiously, and the fight, for a moment 
interrupted by the double manoeuvre of the army, began 
again all along the line. 

After an hour's struggle, foot to foot, bayonet to 
bayonet, the army corps of General Kaim turned and 



CONCLUSION. 



341 



drew back. General Champeaux, at the head of the first 
and eighth regiments of dragoons, charged against him 
and increased his disorder. General Watrin, with the 
sixth light infantry and the twenty-second and fortieth 
line regiments, pursued them and drove them back a short 
distance beyond the brook. But the movement which he 
had just made had separated him from his army corps. 
The divisions in the centre were put in a bad strait by 
the victory of the right wing, and Generals Champeaux 
and Watrin were obliged to return and resume again the 
position which they had left uncovered. Just then Keller- 
mann did on the left wing what Watrin and Champeaux 
had just accomplished on the right. Two charges of cav- 
alry had cut through the enemy ; but beyond the first line 
they had found a second, and not daring to go farther 
because of the superiority of numbers, they lost the fruit 
of their momentary victory. 

It was noon. The French line, which was undulating 
like a flaming serpent for more than a league, was broken 
near the centre. This centre, drawing back, abandoned 
the wings, which were forced to follow the retrograde 
movement. Kellermann on the left and Watrin on the 
right gave their men the order to retreat. The retreat 
took place under the fire of eighty pieces of artillery, 
which preceded the march of the Austrian battalions. 
The ranks grew visibly thinner. One could see nothing 
but wounded carried to the ambulances by their comrades, 
who seldom returned. One division retreated across a 
field of ripe wheat. A shell burst and set fire to the dry 
straw, and two or three thousand men were in the midst 
of the blaze. The cartridges in the cartridge-boxes ex- 
ploded, and the greatest disorder prevailed in the ranks. 
Then Bonaparte brought up the Consul's guard. It ar- 
rived in good order, spread itself out, and arrested the 



342 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



progress of the enemy, and at the same time the horse 
grenadiers charged at a gallop and overthrew the Austrian 
cavalry. In the mean time the division which had escaped 
from the fire formed again, received new cartridges in place 
of those that had exploded in the flames, and took their 
places in line. But this movement had no other result 
than to prevent the retreat from becoming a rout. 

It was two o'clock. Bonaparte watched the retreat, 
seated upon a bank beside the high-road to Alexandria. 
He was alone. The bridle of his horse was upon his arm, 
and he was flicking little stones with the end of his rid- 
ing-whip, while the bullets ploughed up the ground all 
around him. He seemed indifferent to the great drama 
on whose result all his hopes hung suspended. Never be- 
fore had he played for such terrible stakes, — six years of 
victory against the crown of France ! Suddenly he roused 
himself from his revery. In the midst of the frightful 
noise of the artillery he thought he heard the sound of a 
galloping horse. He raised his head. In fact, from the 
direction of Novi, a rider was approaching upon a horse 
white with foam, 

When the horseman was not more than fifty feet away, 
Bonaparte uttered a cry. " Roland ! " he said. 

The latter in return cried out : " Desaix ! Desaix ! 
Desaix ! " 

Bonaparte opened his arms. Roland leaped from his 
horse and hastened to embrace the First Consul. Bona- 
parte rejoiced doubly at this arrival: first, at seeing 
again a man whom he knew to be devoted to him, and 
next because of the news which he bore. 

"Well, and what of Desaix?" asked the First Consul. 

" Desaix was scarcely a league away when one of your 
aides-de-camp met him retracing his steps and marching 
towards the firing. " 



CONCLUSION. 



343 



" Well," said Bonaparte, "can he arrive in time? " 

"Why not!" 

"Look!" 

Eoland glanced at the battlefield and understood the 
situation. In the few moments during which Bonaparte 
had turned his eyes away, it had become still more seri- 
ous. The first Austrian column which was going in the 
direction of Castel Ceriolo, and which had not yet entered 
the fight, was bordering upon the right of the French. 
If it entered into line, it meant flight instead of retreat. 
Desaix would arrive too late. 

" Take my last two regiments of grenadiers," said Bona- 
parte, "rally the consular guard, and go with them to the 
extreme right. Do you understand 1 Form a square, 
Roland, and stop this column as if you were a granite 
redoubt." 

There was not an instant to lose. Roland leaped upon 
his horse, took the two regiments of grenadiers, rallied the 
consular guard, and hastened to the extreme right. When 
he was fifty feet away from the column of General Elsnitz, 
he cried : " Form a square ! the First Consul is looking at 
us ! " The square was formed. Each man seemed to 
take root in his place. 

Instead of continuing on his way to aid Generals Melas 
and Kaim, instead of scorning these nine hundred men 
who were not to be feared in the rear of a victorious 
army, General Elsnitz hurled himself against them. It 
was a mistake, and this mistake saved the French army. 
These nine hundred men were in truth the granite redoubt 
which Bonaparte had intended them to be. Artillery, 
musketry, and bayonets were all exhausted upon them. 
They did not draw back a step. 

Bonaparte was looking at them admiringly, when, turn- 
ing his eyes towards the road to Novi, he saw the first of 



344 THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



Desaix's bayonets approaching. Placed as he was upon 
the most elevated part of the plateau, he could see what 
the enemy could not. He made a sign to a group of offi- 
cers who were a few feet away from him, waiting to carry 
his orders. Behind these officers were two or three ser- 
vants holding horses. Officers and servants advanced. 
Bonaparte pointed out to one of the officers the forest of 
bayonets shining in the sun. 

" Gallop towards these bayonets," he said, "and tell 
them to make haste ; as for Desaix, tell him that I am 
here waiting for him." 

The officer set off at a gallop. Bonaparte turned his 
eyes once more to the battlefield. The retreat still con- 
tinued, but General Elsnitz and his column had been ar- 
rested by Roland and his nine hundred men. The granite 
redoubt had turned into a volcano. Fire was darting 
from its four sides. 

Then addressing the three other officers, Bonaparte said : 
"One of you go to the centre, the other two to the 
wings. Announce the arrival of the reserves, and say 
that we shall resume the offensive." 

The three officers started like three arrows sent from 
the same bow, going farther and farther from each other in 
proportion as they approached their respective destina- 
tions. When, after following them with his eyes, Bona- 
parte turned around again, a horseman wearing the uniform 
of a general officer was not more than fifty feet away from 
him. It was Desaix, — Desaix, whom he had left on 
Egyptian soil, and who that very morning had said laugh- 
ingly : " European bullets are not acquainted with me now. 
Some harm will come to me." 

The two friends clasped hands. Then Bonaparte pointed 
towards the battlefield. The sight told more than all the 
words in the world could have done. 



CONCLUSION. 



345 



Of the twenty thousand men who had begun the fight 
at five o'clock in the morning, there scarcely remained, in 
a radius of two leagues, nine thousand infantry, a thou- 
sand cavalry, and ten pieces of artillery in condition for 
battle. A quarter of the army were incapacitated, and an- 
other quarter were occupied in carrying the wounded, whom 
the First Consul had ordered them not to abandon. All 
were retreating, with the exception of Roland and his 
nine hundred men. The vast space between the Bormida 
and the point which the retreat had reached was covered 
with corpses of men and horses, with dismounted cannon 
and broken artillery-wagons. In places columns of flame 
and smoke mounted to the sky. They were from the 
burning fields of wheat. Desaix took in all the details 
at a glance. 

"What do you think of the battle?" asked Bonaparte. 

" I think," said Desaix, " that it is lost. But as it is 
only three o'clock in the afternoon, we have time to win 
another." 

" Only," said a voice, " we need cannon." The voice 
was that of Marmont, commander-in-chief of the artillery. 

" You are right, Marmont ; but where are we going to 
get any cannon 1 " 

" There are five pieces which I can take from the battle- 
field, and which are still intact ; and five others which we 
left on the Scrivia, and which have just arrived." 

"And eight pieces that I have brought with me," 
added Desaix. 

" That makes eighteen," said Marmont; "and that is 
all we need." 

An aide-de-camj) set off in haste to hurry the arrival of 
Desaix's pieces. The reserve was still approaching, and 
was not more than an eighth of a league away. The posi- 
tion was all that could be desired. At the left of the road 



346 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



rose a gigantic hedge, perpendicular to the road and pro- 
tected by a slope. The infantry was stationed there as it 
arrived, and even the cavalry could rest there unseen be- 
hind the huge curtain. 

In the mean time Marmont had brought together his 
eighteen pieces of cannon, and had put them up as a bat- 
tery on the right front of the army. Suddenly they 
burst forth, throwing upon the Austrians a deluge of shot. 
There was a moment of hesitation in the ranks of the 
enemy. Bonaparte profited by it to pass along the French 
line. 

"Comrades ! " he cried, "you have taken enough back- 
ward steps ! Eemember, it is my habit to sleep upon the 
field of battle ! " 

At the same time, as if in reply to Marmont's cannon- 
ade, the firing of the infantry burst forth on the left, 
taking the Austrians on their flank. It was Desaix and 
his division. The whole army understood that the re- 
serves had come, and that they must help in making the 
effort a supreme one. The word, " Forward ! " resounded 
from the extreme left to the extreme right. The drums 
beat the charge. 

The Austrians, who had not seen the reinforcements 
which had just arrived, and who, thinking the day their 
own, were marching with their guns on their shoulders as 
if at a promenade, felt that something strange was going 
on in the French ranks, and made an effort to retain the 
victory which they felt to be slipping from their hands. 
But everywhere the French had resumed the offensive ; 
everywhere the terrible charge-step and the victorious 
Marseillaise were heard. Marmont's volcano vomited forth 
fire; Kellermann dashed with his cuirassiers across the 
two lines of the enemy ; Desaix leaped the ditches, burst 
through the hedges, arrived upon a little eminence, and 



CONCLUSION. 



347 



fell dead just as he was turning to see if his division 
were following him. But his death, instead of dimin- 
ishing the ardor of his soldiers, redoubled it. They threw 
themselves with levelled bayonets upon General Zach's 
column. Just then Kellermann, who had crossed the 
enemy's lines, saw Desaix's division engaged with a com- 
pact and motionless mass ; he charged it in the rear, made 
an opening in it, broke and routed it in less than a quarter 
of an hour. The five thousand Austrian grenadiers who 
composed this mass were scattered and destroyed. They 
disappeared like smoke. General Zach and his staff were 
made prisoners. They were all that remained. 

Then in their turn the enemy tried to make use of their 
immense cavalry ; but the continual fire of musketry, the 
devouring rain of shells, and the terrible bayonets stopped 
them short. Murat manoeuvred upon their flanks with 
two pieces of light artillery, and a howitzer which sent 
death on all sides even w T hile it was moving. For one 
moment he stopped to help Roland and his nine hundred 
men. One of his shells fell in the ranks of the Austrians 
and burst there. 

An opening was made, like a gulf of flames ; Roland 
threw himself into it, a pistol in one hand and a sword 
in the other. The whole consular guard followed him, 
opening the Austrian ranks as a wedge splits the trunk of 
an oak. He penetrated as far as a broken artillery-wagon 
which the enemy surrounded ; he put his hand into the 
opening of the cannon and fired his pistol. A frightful 
report followed ; a volcano opened and devoured all those 
who surrounded it. 

The army corps of General Elsnitz was now in full 
flight. Then every one turned around, drew back, and 
fled. The Austrian general tried in vain to put some 
order into the retreat. The French army crossed in half 



348 



THE COMPANIONS OF JEHU. 



an hour a plain which it had defended step by step for 
eight hours. 

The enemy did not stop until they reached Marengo, 
where they tried in vain to form again under the fire of 
the artillerymen of Carra-Saint-Cyr, left at Castel Ceriolo 
and found again at the end of the day. But the divisions 
of Desaix, Gardanne, and Chamherlhac came up and pur- 
sued the Austrians from street to street. Marengo was 
taken; the enemy retired upon Petra-Bona, which was 
also taken. The Austrians hastened towards the bridge 
over the Bormida, but Carra-Saint-Cyr got there first. 
Then the multitude of flying soldiers started for the fords, 
and threw themselves into the Bormida beneath the fire 
of the whole French army, which did not stop until ten 
o'clock at night. The remains of the Austrian army 
regained their camp at Alexandria. The Trench army 
bivouacked near the bridge. The day had cost the Aus- 
trians forty-five hundred dead, six thousand wounded, five 
thousand prisoners, twelve flags, and thirty pieces of 
cannon. 

Never had fortune shown itself under two more oppo- 
site aspects. At two o'clock in the afternoon it seemed 
as if there was nothing for Bonaparte except defeat and 
its disastrous consequences. At five o'clock Italy was re- 
conquered with a single blow, and he saw the throne of 
France in prospective. 

That same evening the First Consul wrote the following 
letter to Madame de Montrevel : — 

Madame, — I have gained to-day my most glorious victory ; 
but this victory has cost me the two halves of my heart, — 
Desaix and Roland. 

Do not weep, Madame. Your son has for a long time wished 
to die, and he could not have died more gloriously. 

Bonaparte. 



CONCLUSION. 



349 



They made a futile search for the body of the aide- 
de-camp. Like Romulus, he had disappeared in a tem- 
pest. No one ever knew why he had pursued with so 
much eagerness a death which he had had such diffi- 
culty in finding. 



THE END.